The role of implicit knowledge of a second language on language production in the first language
10 / 2006 - 10 / 2010
Regarding the influence of a second language on production in ones first language there are currently two main assumptions (Costa, Kovacic, Franck & Caramazza, 2003), these are: (1) the two languages of a bilingual share the same conceptual system (Costa et al., 2000) and (2) this conceptual system activates corresponding lexical nodes in both languages. This means that the semantic system is connected to each representation in the corresponding language. The question is whether the language which is not programmed for response also receives activation and what kind of influence this activation will exert on the response language. Two theories have emerged to provide an answer to this question. The first theory proposes that lexical selection is language non-specific (also called Inhibitory Control Model) (De Bot, 1992; Green, 1998). This means that all the nodes in all languages are taken into account, and that an inhibitory mechanism is necessary to suppress the undesired language. A contrasting approach by Costa and co-workers states that selection is language specific (Costa et al, 1999). This means that although both languages receive activation from the semantic representation, only one language is considered without requiring a suppression mechanism. The contrast between the language specific (Costa et al.) model and the non-specific model is that in the language specific model only the nodes of the target language are considered and the non-target language is assumed not to exert an influence on the target-language. In the current project several (picture/word; EEG; possibly fMRI) experiments will be employed to determine whether there are (for instance RT or localization) effects on production in ones first language by having command of a second language and if so, establish the extent of these effects and the implications for the contrasting models mentioned before.