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Laura Sabourin at McMaster

 

Laura Sabourin has given TWO invited lectures at the Cognitive Science of Language Lecture Series at the University of McMaster on March 4th. You will find information about the talks here:

http://www.humanities.mcmaster.ca/~linguistics/Lecture%20Series/index.html

The abstracts of Laura’s talks are below:

Language Processing in Bilinguals: Evidence from Lexical Organization and Cognitive Control

Laura Sabourin, University of Ottawa

Much of the current research in my lab is aimed at determining the effects of age of immersion (AoI), manner of acquisition (MoA), and proficiency on how bilinguals (and language learners) process language. Initial research data at the lexical level shows that, for native speakers of English with L2 French, an early AoI is required for lexicons to become integrated (Sabourin et al., 2014a). However, in a preliminary follow-up study looking at native French speakers with L2 English, it appears that even a late age of L2 immersion can result in integrated lexicons if the MoA is more naturalistic (Sabourin et al., 2014b). Previous research on cognitive control in bilinguals has not always shown a bilingual advantage (Costa et al., 2009), and its existence has been debated (Paap & Greenberg, 2013). In our investigations aimed at accounting for the conflicting results found in the literature (Sabourin & Vinerte, 2014), we investigated participant grouping and task difficulty effects on the Stroop task (which measures cognitive control). While we find no differences between simultaneous and early sequential bilinguals, age groups traditionally both classified as “early” bilinguals, when the task uses only one language, we find a significant difference between the two groups when the task mixes both languages. Based on the data collected to date in our lab (including studies at other levels of linguistic processing), I hypothesize that while for many bilingual and language learning groups AoI is often the most important factor in determining how languages are processed, there is an important role for factors such as MoA and the context of bilingualism.

 

Determining Different Types of Bilingualism

Laura Sabourin
with Myriam Lapierre, Michele Burkholder, Jean-Christophe Leclerc & Christie Brien

Conflicting evidence seems to be the norm when it comes to research findings on bilingual language processing. It is likely that the inconsistent findings are due to the nature of different types of bilingualism. We need to know the language background of participants who are tested in bilingual studies and while there are currently many language background questionnaires (e.g., the LEAP-Q, Marian et al., 2007), we have found that none of the existing questionnaires is adequate for eliciting information about aspects of bilingualism that are specific to participants tested in a Canadian context. I will present my lab’s attempt at creating an adequate language background questionnaire for our participants. I will focus on some of the issues we have come across and some of our preliminary solutions. Discussion and comments are greatly welcome!

 

 

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