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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Cross-linguistic studies of lexical access and processing in monolingual English and bilingual Hindī-English speakers

  • Author(s): Iyer, Gowri Krovi
  • et al.

The present dissertation addresses a set of questions about processes involved in lexical access and literacy and psycholinguistic factors (such as word learning age, word frequency etc.) that affect them in monolingual and bilingual speakers. Four experiments examined these issues for nouns in native English speakers and bilingual Hindī- English speakers with a developmental perspective. Experiments 1 and 2 were conducted with English monolinguals in San Diego. In experiment 1, age of acquisition norms were collected from college-age adults. In experiment 2, online picture naming data was collected from four age groups of English monolinguals (5-7, 8-10, 11-13 and college-age adults). Experiments 3 and 4 were conducted on Hindī-English bilinguals in India. In experiment 3, age of acquisition and word frequency norms were collected from college-age adults. In experiment 4, online picture naming and word reading data were collected from three age groups of Hindī-English bilinguals (8-10, 11-13 and college-age adults). Comparisons of performance on two lexical access tasks (on-line picture naming and word reading) in monolingual English speakers and bilingual Hindī-English speakers, were conducted. Results and discussion are aimed at addressing issues of language processing, lexical access and development. Overall, results indicate that there is developmental improvement on the lexical access tasks. In addition, the predictor- outcome relationships are generally similar for both monolinguals and bilinguals. Age of acquisition is the most consistent predictor of both picture naming and word reading behavior, in both monolingual and bilingual speaker. There are differential effects of frequency in the languages of the bilingual in the word reading task, with orthographic differences interacting with frequency effects. However, there are interesting differences that arise between the monolinguals and within the bilinguals, because of language dominance and proficiency. Results and discussion focus on quantitative analyses, examining lexical access processes in monolinguals and bilinguals, and examining the relationship between the psycholinguistic variables (such as age of acquisition, frequency, and syllable length) and performance on the language production tasks. Future directions focus on highlighting some limitations of this research, in addition to discussing the need for more in depth qualitative analyses, and extending these paradigms to clinical populations

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