My name is Rachel Negron and I am an International Politics and Spanish major at Penn State University. This semester I will have the privilege of working with Dr. Janet van Hell researching the effects of code-switching on bilinguals. This summer I have been given the opportunity to expand my research abroad to work with Spanish-English bilinguals in Tarragona, Spain.
Learning new languages is fun and comes easily to me. I love traveling, learning and experiencing new things. Growing up, I was taught both English and Spanish which continuously sparked my curiosity with questions like "why do I sometimes think or dream in Spanish versus English," or "how come I never confuse the two languages." When I took my first Spanish linguistics class with Dr. Guili Dussias and came to realize that these are the very questions a linguist asks, I immediately became passionate about the subject; and when the chance arose for me to conduct linguistics research, I knew the job was right for me.
At the Universitat Rovira i Virgili in Tarragona I will study the effects of code-switching on Spanish-English bilinguals. Using a study created by Dr. Janet van Hell conducted on Dutch-English bilinguals as a guideline, I will focus on the triggering hypothesis and how two types of triggering: cognate triggering and socio-contextual triggering affect the code-switching process.
In the spring of 2011, I will work as an assistant in Dr. Van Hell's lab, and run a code-switching study with English-Spanish bilingual speakers. This training will help prepare me for my research abroad in Tarragona. I would never let an opportunity like this one pass me by without giving it my all and enjoying every minute of it. While I'm not expecting to make any breaking new discoveries, I hope to be able to accomplish a lot over these next few months of research. At the very least I know I will learn a lot about myself and find answers to questions I have always been interested in learning.