The Influence of Cross-Linguistic Similarity and Language Background on Writing to Dictation
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AuthorMartínez Iniesta, Antonio José; Rossi, Eleonora; Bajo Molina, María Teresa; Paolieri, Daniela
Frontiers Research Foundation
Bilingual writingLanguage co-activationOrthographic/phonological similarityHeritage speakersWriting to dictation
Iniesta A... [et al.] (2021) The Influence of Cross-Linguistic Similarity and Language Background on Writing to Dictation. Front. Psychol. 12:679956. doi: [10.3389/fpsyg.2021.679956]
SponsorshipMinisterio de Ciencia, Innovacion y Universidades-Fondos Feder FPU16/01748; Feder Andalucia PGC2018-093786-B-I00 PCIN-2015-165-C02-01 PSI2017-89324-C2-1-P; A-CTS-111-UGR18 P20.00107
This study used a word dictation task to examine the influence of a variety of factors on word writing production: cognate status (cognate vs. non-cognate words), orthographic (OS) and phonological similarity (PS) within the set of cognate words, and language learning background [late bilinguals (LBs) with academic literacy and formal instruction in English and Spanish, and heritage speakers (HSs) with academic literacy and formal instruction only in English]. Both accuracy and reaction times for the first key pressed by participants (indicating lexical access), and the time required to type the rest of the word after the first keypress (indicating sublexical processing) was assessed. The results revealed an effect of PS on the dictation task particularly for the first keypress. That is, cognates with high PS were processed faster than cognates with low PS. In contrast to reading studies in which PS only revealed a significant effect when the OS between languages was high (O + P+ vs. O + P−), in the dictation to writing task, the phonology had a more general effect across all conditions, regardless of the level of OS. On the other hand, OS tended to be more influential for typing the rest of the word. This pattern is interpreted as indicating the importance of phonology (and PS in cognates) for initial lexical retrieval when the input is aural. In addition, the role of OS and PS during co-activation was different between groups probably due to the participants’ linguistic learning environment. Concretely, HSs were found to show relatively lower OS effects, which is attributed to the greater emphasis on spoken language in their Spanish language learning experiences, compared to the formal education received by the LBs. Thus, the study demonstrates that PS can influence lexical processing of cognates, as long as the task demands specifically require phonological processing, and that variations in language learning experiences also modulate lexical processing in bilinguals.