23. Modulators of cross-language influences in learning and processing

cross-language influence, transfer, immersion, morpho-syntax, lexicon

Tamar Degani, University of Haifa
Anat Prior, University of Haifa
Zofia Wodniecka, Jagiellonian University Kraków

Cross-language influence (CLI), also termed transfer, has been demonstrated to affect language learning and processing in bi- and multilinguals. Rather than merely documenting the presence of such CLI, the current thematic session aims to explore various factors that might modulate the degree and nature of CLI, namely under what circumstances and for which learners and speakers CLI might be more or less evident. Across various levels of investigation, including words, multi-word units, and morpho-syntax the research in this thematic session documents modulations of CLI. The modulating factors may take several forms. First, the studies highlight how speakers’ characteristics, including age, proficiency, language dominance, and the language context (immersion) in which speakers interact, affect the degree of susceptibility to CLI. Second, individual differences in domain general cognitive abilities (e.g., phonological and working memory) modulate the degree of CLI evident in learning and processing. Further, characteristics of the languages involved (both the known and the to-be learned language), such as typological similarity, are investigated. Finally, the modality of language use (production vs. comprehension) as well as the scope at which linguistic performance is evaluated (words in isolation vs. contextualized sentences) emerge as important modulating factors. The studies included in this thematic session provide converging evidence to the important role of CLI in multilingual behavior, across a wide range of experimental paradigms and measures. Behavioral reaction time and accuracy measures, along with ERPs, eye-tracking, and narrative analyses are uniquely integrated in a single thematic session. Further, by bringing together interdisciplinary research tapping research from children in the classroom to controlled laboratory experimental manipulations, the proposed thematic session provides the grounds for deep and thorough discussions of the underlying mechanisms at play. Across studies, the proposed thematic session provides a window into the complex interactions among the different languages of multilingual speakers, and highlights the need for a multi-dimensional characterization of multilingual behavior. Given the central importance of CLI in determining multilingual performance, a deeper understanding of its modulators will undoubtedly lead to fascinating theoretical and practical advances. The proposed thematic session includes 17 individual submissions from researchers all over the world. Their contributions are organized into 6 sessions of 90 minutes each, focusing on particular aspects of the central questions. Thus, 5 sessions include 3 talks each (20 minutes+5 minutes for questions, with a 15 minute general discussion), and a final session which includes 2 additional talks providing theoretical insight, and an integrative panel discussion. The description of each of these sessions, along with the abstracts of the proposed contributions, are presented below.

  1. Eye Movement Measures of Cross-Language Activation During Reading in Bilingual Children and Adults: A Focus on Neighborhood Density Effects, Veronica Whitford  and Marc F. Joanisse
  2. Cognate effects in auditory and visual word processing in child and adult beginning L2 learners: Electrophysiological evidence, Janet G. van Hell, Ping Li, Fatemeh Abdollahi, Katharine Donnelly Adams
  3. Cross-language interactions during novel word learning: The contribution of form similarity and participants’ characteristics, Mariana Elias and Tamar Degani
  4. Second language activation in the processing of first language MWIs:  Evidence from a priming task, Lingli Du, Irina Elgort, Anna Siyanova-Chanturia
  5. Individual differences in chunking ability predict L2 sentence processing: eye-tracking evidence from multiword units and relative clauses, Manuel F. Pulido
  6. Assessing and Processing English Calques by Native Speakers of Polish at Various Levels of English Proficiency: a Behavioural and ERP investigation, Marta Marecka, Agnieszka Otwinowska , Joanna Durlik, Jakub Szewczyk, Marcin Opacki, Zofia Wodniecka
  7. The influence of working memory span and experience on syntactic reformulations during sight translation, Agnieszka Lijewska and Agnieszka Chmiel
  8. Can Typologically different L1 grammar modulate L2 oral language production: Evidence from Hebrew-speakers narrative in English as a foreign language, Susie Russak and Elena Zaretsky
  9. Input characteristics as modulators of cross-linguistic influence in child Heritage Language acquisition, Natalia Meir and Bibi Janssen
  10. What are the modulators of cross-language syntactic activation during natural reading?, Naomi Vingron, Pauline Palma, Jason Gullifer, Veronica Whitford, Deanna Friesen, Debra Jared, Debra Titone
  11. Cross-language similarity modulates clitic processing in a second language:  Evidence from gender and number processing, Eleonora Rossi, Jorge R. Valdés Kroff, Lauren Halberstadt, Judith F. Kroll, Paola E. Dussias
  12. Cross Linguistic Influences in Third Language Syntactic Processing, Nawras Abbas, Tamar Degani and Anat Prior
  13. Cross-Linguistic Influence on L2 before and after extreme reduction in input: the case of Japanese returnee children, Maki Kubota, Caroline Heycock, Antonella Sorace and Jason Rothman
  14. Factors affecting acceptability judgments in the native language: proficiency, language exposure, lexical frequency, and grammaticality in the second language, Eve Higby, Nelson Tian, Valerie Shafer and Eva Fernández
  15. Two L1-s or two L2-s? The consequences of L2 immersion for cross-language interference in bilinguals, Joanna Durlik, Teresa Bajo and Zofia Wodniecka
  16. Cross-Linguistic Influence (CLI) of Lexical Breadth and Semantic Depth in the Vocabulary of Bilingual Preschool Children – An Intervention Study, Carmit Altman, Minna Lipner and Sharon Armon-Lotem
  17. Cross-Language Influences in Long-Term Memory, Wendy S. Francis
  18. Integrative discussion – The dynamic role of CLI in language learning & processing – round table