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Psychology of Language and Communication

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Language and Task Switching in Polish-English Bilinguals

Anna Klecha
Published Online: 2013-06-01 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/plc-2013-0002

The study investigated the relationship between the efficiency of switching languages and non-linguistic tasks in non-proficient Polish-English bilinguals. The participants performed picture naming that involved switching between L1 and L2 in both directions and a shape or color decision on visually presented figures, which required switching and mixing two different tasks. No relationship between the efficiency in switching languages and non-linguistic tasks was observed. However, increased language switching efficiency was related to high task mixing efficiency, indicating that maintaining two languages and two non-linguistic tasks active is mediated by equivalent control processes. Also, switching from L2 to L1 was more time-consuming than in the opposite direction and participants with the greatest L1 switching disadvantage were the fastest task switchers. These findings suggest that nonproficient bilinguals inhibit their stronger language while switching between L1 and L2 and equivalent inhibitory mechanisms can be responsible for the facilitation of their task switching performance.

Keywords: bilingualism; language switching; task switching; task mixing; executive control

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About the article

Published Online: 2013-06-01

Published in Print: 2013-06-01

Citation Information: Psychology of Language and Communication, Volume 17, Issue 1, Pages 17–36, ISSN (Print) 1234-2238, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/plc-2013-0002.

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