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Link Between Verbal Fluency And Phonological Short Term Memory In Simultaneous Bilinguals And Monolinguals

2242 words - 9 pages

Each time a bilingual speaks its brain functions in slightly different ways than that of a monolingual’s. Bilinguals deal with constant dual-language activation as they are able to switch between two sometimes very different languages. The ability to use one language without intrusions from the other language is seen as an important topic of study (Van Assche, Duyck, and Gollan, 2013). However, one of the costs of being bilingual is the reduced exposure to each language. Studies show that both sequential and simultaneous bilinguals score lower on vocabulary measures than monolinguals (Rosselli et al., 200 as cited in Kaushankaya, Blumenfeld and Marian, 2011). Strong evidence for weakened vocabulary performance in bilinguals comes from research with children while the evidence brought from research on adults is considered less reliable. However, as it’s been noted before the topic is worth the attention and future research should attempt to yield reliable results (Kaushankaya et al., 2011).
The present research aims to look at the link between Verbal Fluency and Phonological short-term memory in simultaneous bilinguals and monolinguals. Results from numerous studies have suggested that bilinguals have both their languages activated even when a task is language selective (De Groot, 1992; Francis, 1999, Kroll and Dijkstra, 2002 as cited in Gollan, Montoya and Werner, 2002). The automatic activation of the less dominant language during language production affects processing in the dominant language even in very fluent bilinguals (Costa, Caramazza and Sebastian-Galles, 2000 as cited in Gollan et al., 2002). As there is a competition between cross-language alternatives retrieving a lexical item in a single language takes time. In other words, before producing a category exemplar (e.g. bench in the letter B category) the bilingual has to resolve the competition for activation from the translation equivalent (i.e. banca).
According to the Inhibitory Control Model (Green, 1998 as cited in Van Assche et al., 2013) bilinguals manage the activation of their two languages using multiple mechanisms. Lexical representations are classified for language membership after receiving syntactic properties (lemmas). This enables the bilingual person to produce language in a selective manner. Furthermore, bilinguals use task schemas and a Supervisory Attentional System to create, retrieve and, if necessary to adapt these task schemas. Because bilinguals cannot completely turn off one language the letter version of the verbal fluency task used in the present study activates twice as many lexical representations in bilinguals than in monolinguals. This will lead to a greater degree of competition for activation across languages hence the effect of subject type (Van Assche et al., 2013). In the present research bilinguals’ and monolinguals’ verbal fluency is tested using a classic letter fluency task. According to the literature...

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