Publication Type

Journal Article

Version

Postprint

Publication Date

10-2016

Abstract

This study investigated conceptual representations changes in bilinguals. Participants were Indonesian-English bilinguals (dominant in Indonesian, with different levels of English proficiency) and a control group composed of English-dominant bilinguals. All completed a gender decision task, in which participants decided whether English words referred to a male or female person or animal. In order to explore conceptual representations, we divided the words into gender-specific and gender-ambiguous words. Gender-specific words were words in which conceptual representations contained gender as a defining feature, in both English and Indonesian (e.g., uncle). In contrast, gender-ambiguous words were words in which gender was a defining feature in English but not a necessary feature in Indonesian (e.g., nephew and niece are both subsumed under the same word, keponakan, in Indonesian). The experiment was conducted exclusively in English. Indonesian-English bilinguals responded faster to gender-specific words than gender-ambiguous words, but the difference was smaller for the most proficient bilinguals. As expected, English-dominant speakers' response latencies were similar across these two types of words. The results suggest that English concepts are dynamic and that proficiency leads to native-like conceptual representations.

Keywords

Bilingualism, Conceptual representation, Conceptual restructuring, Translation equivalent, Bilingual lexicon

Discipline

Asian Studies | Linguistics | Multicultural Psychology

Research Areas

Psychology

Publication

Journal of Psycholinguistic Research

Volume

45

Issue

5

First Page

1201

Last Page

1217

ISSN

0090-6905

Identifier

10.1007/s10936-015-9399-6

Publisher

Springer Verlag (Germany)

Embargo Period

10-1-2017

Copyright Owner and License

Authors

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Additional URL

http://doi.org/10.1007/s10936-015-9399-6

Available for download on Sunday, October 01, 2017

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