Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts
Partnerships for International
Research and Education

Joana Pinzon-Coimbra

Joana Pinzon-Coimbra
Undergraduate Student: Advertising, minoring in Spanish, Psychology,, and Digital Media Trends and Analytics
Joana Pinzon-Coimbra


My name is Joana Pinzon-Coimbra and I am a junior majoring in Advertising and minoring in Spanish, psychology, and digital media trends and analytics. As a trilingual, I am extremely interested in how languages are able to switch inadvertently depending on the context and situation. During my freetime, I enjoy hanging out with friends and family and going to the gym.

Project Summary:

The goal our our PIRE proposal is to investigate further whether second language speakers are able to predict linguist information (for example, an upcoming word) before they hear it. The research team (Dr. Giuli Dussias, Dr. Teresa Bajo, Julia Rembalsky, and me) will conduct an experiment to test if Spanish speakers who have learned English as a second language predict the phonological form of a noun that is preceded by the indefinite articles a or an. In the experiment, participants will hear an instruction (for example, “Click on an apple”) while looking at a visual scene presented on a computer screen that contains a picture of an apple, a picture of a chair, a picture of two ants, and a picture of three turtles. The question is whether the presence of the indefinite article an in the instruction will trigger looks to the apple, before the word apple is heard by the participant. Our study is based on DeLong, Urback, and Kutas (2005), who found that the pre-activation of a noun’s phonological form in native English speakers is conditioned by the form of the indefinite article preceding the noun. The purpose of our study is to determine if second language learners of English reactivate word information previously activated by a visual object and if reactivation is affected by the type of indefinite article preceding the noun.