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Lexical triggering in bilingual code-switching


Witteman,  Marijt J.
Adaptive Listening, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;
International Max Planck Research School for Language Sciences, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society, Nijmegen, NL;

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Kootstra, G. J., Witteman, M. J., Dijkstra, T., & van Hell, J. G. (2010). Lexical triggering in bilingual code-switching. Talk presented at the 51st Annual meeting of the Psychonomic Society. St. Louis, MO. 2010-11-18 - 2010-11-21.

Code switching is the use of two languages within a single sentence. We tested the hypothesis that claims that language-ambiguous words, such as cognates or homophones, trigger a switch to the other language. Experiment 1 showed that Dutch–English bilinguals read code-switched words presented in sentences faster when the switch was preceded by a cognate trigger word than when preceded by a noncognate control word. Experiment 2 focused on lexical triggering and alignment with a dialogue partner in a discourse situation, using the confederate-scripting technique. Bilinguals were more likely to switch languages when the confederate had code switched, and this alignment effect was particularly large in the production of sentences containing language-ambiguous trigger words. Implications for theories of bilingual language production, code switching,and discourse alignment are discussed.