PIRE fellow Anne Beatty-Martinez presents at the 58th Annual Meeting of the Psychonomics Society.
Although bilinguals are typically slower to speak the L2 relative to the L1, changes to the native language have been observed in response to active L2 use. These observations have been attributed to either reduced-lexical access (frequency-lag hypothesis) or to the presence of activation of the nontarget language (competition-based models). Here we characterize these differences as a function of immersion context and language use (e.g., codeswitching). We compared picture naming performance with high- and low-frequency items across three Spanish-English bilingual groups and in their two languages. Overall, bilinguals were slower than monolingual controls. Non-codeswitching bilinguals immersed in their L1 were faster in the L1 than in the L2 and this difference was greater for low-frequency items. Codeswitching bilinguals, regardless of immersion context, were faster in the L2 than in the L1, although this effect disappeared for low-frequency items. We discuss these results with respect to accounts of bilingual language production.