Bilinguals routinely shift between their languages, changing languages between communicative settings. To test the consequences of such changes in language use, 48 Arabic-Hebrew bilinguals named pictures in Arabic (L1) before and after a brief exposure manipulation, including either reading a list of Hebrew (L2) words aloud or performing a nonlinguistic task. Half of the items post-exposure were new and half were translation equivalents of the words presented during the L2 exposure task. Further, half of the items were very low-frequency L1 words, typically replaced by borrowed L2 words. Results show that across word types bilinguals were less accurate and produced more L2 cross-language errors in their dominant L1 following brief L2 exposure. Error rates were comparable for translation equivalents and new items, but more cross-language errors were observed post-exposure on translation equivalents. These findings demonstrate the engagement of both global whole-language control mechanisms and item-based competitive processes, and highlight the importance of language context and the dynamic nature of bilingual performance.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2019 Cambridge University Press.
- bilingual control
- item specific
- language shifts
- whole language
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Language and Linguistics
- Linguistics and Language
- Psychology (all)