Proceedings from the CALS conference 2014
Edited By Kristina Cergol Kovačević and Sanda Lucija Udier
Paradoxical asymmetry in monolingual language sets
In this paper the existence of paradoxical asymmetry, defined as faster reaction times (RTs) to the second language (L2) than the first language (L1), in the spoken production of the Croatian and English languages is investigated. Contrary to the common procedure in which asymmetrical processing of the two languages is obtained in language-switching tasks, this study uses monolingual blocks in which a picture-naming task is carried out in monolingual language sets, either entirely in Croatian or entirely in English. Performance of two groups of speakers is compared: proficient Croatian-English dominant bilinguals and Croatian non-proficient learners of English. It was hypothesized that the RTs to the L2 in the dominant bilinguals’ production would be faster than the RTs in their L1 (paradoxical asymmetry), while the less proficient L2 speakers would show the opposite result pattern (asymmetry). The hypotheses were confirmed. The results were interpreted in terms of Grosjean’s (1998, 2001) bilingual language mode. It is suggested that the paradoxical asymmetry effect occurs due to the always present resting level activation of the mother tongue which needs to be inhibited for the processing of L2 in the dominant bilinguals to take place. Upon the processing of the L1 its reactivation takes up a lot of cognitive effort. This reactivation results in increased processing costs of the mother tongue in the processing of the dominant bilinguals. The asymmetrical processing costs found in the non-proficient L2 learners of English are interpreted in terms of the Revised Hierarchical Model (Kroll...
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