PIRE fellow Kinsey Bice presents at International Meeting of the Psychonomic Society
Converging evidence across tasks and levels of language processing suggests that proficient bilinguals differ from monolinguals in the native language (L1). Language competition arising from parallel activation of the languages is resolved through inhibition of the L1 relative to L2 activation (Green, 1998). Therefore, L1 inhibition should be more difficult early in L2 learning, but necessary for successful acquisition. Here, we present data from two experiments testing the idea that changes in L1 processing early during L2 learning promote the development of L2 proficiency. The first experiment tests classroom learners in an L1 context, demonstrating that beginning and intermediate learners show neural sensitivity to L2 cognate words in the L1 earlier than previously reported. The second experiment reports preliminary data from English speakers living in Hong Kong who are exposed to Cantonese but not required to use it, to investigate how this immersion context affects Cantonese acquisition and L1 processing.