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Tracking lexical access and code switching in multilingual participants with different degrees of simultaneous interpretation expertise


Boos, Michael; Kobi, Matthias; Elmer, Stefan; Jäncke, Lutz (2022). Tracking lexical access and code switching in multilingual participants with different degrees of simultaneous interpretation expertise. European Journal of Neuroscience, 56(6):4869-4888.

Abstract

With the worldwide increase in people speaking more than one language, a better understanding of the behavioural and neural mechanisms governing lexical selection, lexical access in multiple languages and code switching has attracted widespread interest from several disciplines. Previous studies documented higher costs when processing a non-native (L2) than a native (L1) language or when switching from L2 to L1. However, studies on auditory language reception are still scarce and did not take into account the degree of switching experience. Accordingly, in the present study, we combined behavioural and electrophysiological measurements to assess lexical access in L1 and L2 as well as code switching in professional simultaneous interpreters, trainee interpreters, foreign language teachers and Anglistics students, while the participants performed a bilingual auditory lexical decision task. The purpose of this study was to expand the knowledge on code switching in auditory language processing and examine whether the degree of simultaneous interpretation experience might reduce switching costs. As a main result, we revealed that L2 compared to L1 trials, as well as switch compared to non-switch trials, generally resulted in lower accuracies, longer reaction times and increased N400 amplitudes in all groups of participants. Otherwise, we did not reveal any influence of switching direction and interpretation expertise on N400 parameters. Taken together, these results suggest that a late age of L2 acquisition leads to switching costs, irrespective of proficiency level. Furthermore, we provided first evidence that simultaneous interpretation training does not diminish switching costs, at least when focusing on lexical access.

Abstract

With the worldwide increase in people speaking more than one language, a better understanding of the behavioural and neural mechanisms governing lexical selection, lexical access in multiple languages and code switching has attracted widespread interest from several disciplines. Previous studies documented higher costs when processing a non-native (L2) than a native (L1) language or when switching from L2 to L1. However, studies on auditory language reception are still scarce and did not take into account the degree of switching experience. Accordingly, in the present study, we combined behavioural and electrophysiological measurements to assess lexical access in L1 and L2 as well as code switching in professional simultaneous interpreters, trainee interpreters, foreign language teachers and Anglistics students, while the participants performed a bilingual auditory lexical decision task. The purpose of this study was to expand the knowledge on code switching in auditory language processing and examine whether the degree of simultaneous interpretation experience might reduce switching costs. As a main result, we revealed that L2 compared to L1 trials, as well as switch compared to non-switch trials, generally resulted in lower accuracies, longer reaction times and increased N400 amplitudes in all groups of participants. Otherwise, we did not reveal any influence of switching direction and interpretation expertise on N400 parameters. Taken together, these results suggest that a late age of L2 acquisition leads to switching costs, irrespective of proficiency level. Furthermore, we provided first evidence that simultaneous interpretation training does not diminish switching costs, at least when focusing on lexical access.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Computational Linguistics
08 Research Priority Programs > Dynamics of Healthy Aging
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > General Neuroscience
Language:English
Date:September 2022
Deposited On:31 Jan 2023 08:40
Last Modified:28 Jun 2024 01:36
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0953-816X
OA Status:Green
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/ejn.15786
PubMed ID:35904767
  • Content: Published Version
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)