Cross-linguistic similarity in Japanese-English bilingual processing and representation
Allen, David B. (2013) Cross-linguistic similarity in Japanese-English bilingual processing and representation. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.
The present thesis is devoted to the analysis of how cognates are processed and represented in the minds of Japanese-English bilinguals. Cognates are an interesting and important category of words in languages as they are distinguished by their similarity across languages, which includes both formal and semantic features. This thesis presents the most comprehensive description and analysis of Japanese-English cognates and how they are processed and represented in the minds of bilinguals. A large number of rating and norming data are presented, which will be of use to researchers in the field of bilingualism who are interested in languages that differ in script, such as Japanese and English. Utilising measures of formal (phonological) and semantic cross-linguistic similarity derived from bilinguals’ ratings, the present thesis presents evidence that cross-linguistic similarity impacts bilingual processing and representation in a variety of tasks, but is modulated by task type and language dominance. The findings of the present study complement previous research, which has often focused on languages that share script (e.g., Dutch-English), while advancing the use of continuous measures of formal and semantic similarity. Such measures are argued to be more appropriate in terms of current cognitive models of bilingual processing and representation. Following a review of previously documented cognitive models, the results are interpreted in terms of the most relevant models that address the issues of cross-linguistic similarity and language proficiency/dominance. The results are important for cognitive science, psycholinguistics and bilingual studies and may also feed into applied linguistics in terms of the potential implications for language learning and teaching.
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