Developmental changes associated with cross-language similarity in bilingual children
Duñabeitia, Jon Andoni
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Jon Andoni Duñabeitia, Lela Ivaz & Aina Casaponsa (2016) Developmental changes associated with cross-language similarity in bilingual children, Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 28:1, 16-31, DOI: 10.1080/20445911.2015.1086773
The main goal of the present study was to investigate how the degree of orthographic overlap between translation equivalents influences bilingual word recognition processes at different stages of reading development. Spanish–Basque bilingual children with ages ranging from 8 to 15 years were tested in an explicit translation recognition task with a large set of items. Critically, the degree of cross-language similarity (i.e. the cognate status) between the references and the correct targets was manipulated along a continuum in order to investigate how the reliance on crosslanguage orthographic overlap varies as a function of reading experience. Results showed that younger children were significantly more sensitive to the cognate status of words than older children while recognising translation equivalents, and that this difference did not depend on the speed of response of the participants. These results demonstrate that the influence of cross-language similarity progressively diminishes as a function of increased exposure to print together with the maturation of the mechanisms responsible for language interference suppression, as suggested by developmental models of bilingual lexical access.