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January 22, 2014 - Bilingualism

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McMaster University
Karin R Humphreys

Psych 3UU3 Lecture January 22 60 minutes 2 of 4 essay questions 5 short answer questions (one or two sentences) You should be writing well-constructed paragraphs—not point form, and not rambling, not just get down everything you can think of. It is better to write less if you’re going to write jargon. You can LOSE marks by including extra irrelevant stuff. An answer will probably take about one page, although it is absolutely possible to get full marks in less, and it is also allowable to write more. Best way to study will be to come up with the kinds of questions you think I might ask, and actually practice writing your answers. It is too hard to try and organize your thoughts for the first time in the exam—that organization needs to happen during study. When you are thinking about your answers, think about the EVIDENCE for various positions. Not so much WHO did stuff, but WHAT facts and findings are relevant. You should be reading your textbook with an eye for how the arguments go. Why did people think this?And then why did they change? –the overall ideas and arguments is the point For some questions, you may be asked your opinion. You make be asked to “critically evaluate” something. • You lay out both sides of the position and then express some kind of opinion • Evidence of this and this—evidence seems to be stronger towards this rather than this because of…. Focus is not on things that aren’t important. Bilingualism What are the important questions? • Over the last 4 years—explosion of research • Working up to the fact that most of the world are bilingual • Code-switching: how do you switch languages? • Cognitive differences between monolingualism and bilingualism • How does translation occur? • How does age make a difference? Types of Bilingualism Weinrich (1953) Compound Bilingualism (doesn’t work very well anymore) Concept L1 word or L2 word (language words—pull which is convenient) Concept 1L1 word Concept 1L1 word Concept 1L1 wordL2 word These categories don’t work very well! Ways to grow up bilingual Expected in some communities • Both language at home all the time • L1 community, but L2 from some family members (or TV) • L1 at home, then L2 at school Better way to think about it: • Simultaneous (always had 2 languages—couldn’t even say which one came first) • Early sequential (learned one first but then early as a child you learned the second one) • Late sequential (learned one first but then later in adolescence or adulthood you learned the second one) o People are good at learning languages o People who are bilingual are amazing  Machine translation: useful problem to be able to solve—google translate is not good— computers are terrible—human brains do this much better Ie: “His youthful years were not easy”—the time of its giovenezza has not been easy—not she was soft does the stop at the time of the her youth Language mixing Code switching • Read textbook Costs and Benefits Big issue—interference between L1 and L2 Obvious that late L2 gets a lot of interference from L1 Crucially, L2 interferes with your L1 a little too In immigrant children better learning of L2 comes at the expense of reduced speed of access to L1 (Magiste) • Bilinguals are more likely to experience tip-of-the-tongue states than monolinguals (gollan et al 2005) (but only on items that have words in both languages, not proper names, and words that are cognates help) • Bilinguals are slower and picture naming than monolinguals but equally fast at saying whether it is “natural” or “human-made”. • Generally, bilinguals have twice the processing load of monolinguals. It is like having a larger vocabulary full of lower frequency (less common) words. • The processing is slower because you have less practice with both For children, very early when learning two languages simultaneously, the two languages mix up, but then children learn to separate them. • Controversy—some say no costs to early bilingualism—children learn both languages just as fast, just as easily • Others DO find some measures of delays (especially syntax, -Gatercole 2002) “monolingual-like attainment in each of a bilingual’s two language is probably a myth (at any age) Harley & Wang (1997) • Gain in metalinguistic awareness (helps reading especially) • Some cognitive advantages (e.g. work by Bialystok and colleagues) • Bilinguals (both kids and adults) have better attention and cognitive control (especially task-switching ability) than monolinguals. It becomes the process of telling the other language to “shut up” • Being a lifelong bilingual delays onset of dementia by 4 years • Advantage to task switching/ executive control • Especially in low-income minority children (deAbreu et al. 20
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