CLS Speaker Series - Jorge Valdés Kroff (University of Florida) Learning to expect the unexpected: How bilinguals integrate code-switched speech
Oct 16, 2015
from 09:30 AM to 10:15 AM
|Where||127 Moore Building|
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Learning to expect the unexpected: How bilinguals integrate code-switched speech
Bilinguals in the presence of other known bilinguals engage in code-switching, generally defined as the fluid alternation between languages within a conversation (e.g Poplack, 1980). Socio- and theoretical linguists have proposed a series of factors for when and why (i.e. social) and where in a sentence (i.e. structural) code-switching occurs. More recently, psycholinguists have also shifted their attention to code-switching primarily because its production and especially its comprehension present a unique cognitive paradox. Experimental evidence on externally cued-language switching and non-linguistic task switching points towards obligatory switch costs that can be reduced but not eliminated (e.g. Meuter & Allport, 1999; Moreno et al., 2002; Monsell, 2003). Additionally, the hallmark of sentence processing is that we are incremental processors (e.g. Altmann & Kamide, 1999), i.e. speakers incrementally build interpretations as they integrate incoming speech. Logically, staying in one language alone should most efficiently benefit comprehension. Yet code-switching is ubiquitous and does not appear to impede successful comprehension. One plausible hypothesis relies upon exposure-based accounts to suggest that bilingual code-switchers learn via cues when to better anticipate an impending code-switch. Using eye-tracking and fMRI, I will provide evidence for a cue-based approach to code-switching primarily through the asymmetric use of grammatical gender in Spanish-English code-switching. In turn, the results from these studies suggest that code-switching is a highly skilled linguistic ability that bilinguals must learn in order to successfully integrate code-switched speech.