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Effects of dense code-switching on executive control

Hofweber, J., Marinis, T. and Treffers-Daller, J. ORCID: (2016) Effects of dense code-switching on executive control. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism, 6 (5). pp. 648-668. ISSN 1879-9272

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1075/lab.15052.hof


Bilingualism is reported to re-structure executive control networks, but it remains unknown which aspects of the bilingual experience cause this modulation. This study explores the impact of three code-switching types on executive functions: (1) alternation of languages, (2) insertion of lexicon of one language into grammar of another, (3) dense code-switching with co-activation of lexicon and grammar. Current models hypothesise that they challenge different aspects of the executive system because they vary in the extent and scope of language separation. Two groups of German-English bilinguals differing in dense code-switching frequency participated in a flanker task under conditions varying in degree of trial-mixing and resulting demands to conflict-monitoring. Bilinguals engaging in more dense code-switching showed inhibitory advantages in the condition requiring most conflict-monitoring. Moreover, dense code-switching frequency correlated positively with monitoring skills. This suggests that the management of co-activated languages during dense code-switching engages conflict-monitoring and that the consolidation processes taking place within co-activated linguistic systems involve local inhibition. Code-switching types requiring greater degrees of language separation may involve more global forms of inhibition. This study shows that dense code-switching is a key experience shaping bilinguals’ executive functioning and highlights the importance of controlling for participants’ code-switching habits in bilingualism research.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Institute of Education > Language and Literacy in Education
Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism (CeLM)
ID Code:65733
Uncontrolled Keywords:cognitive control, code-switching, executive functions, inhibition, monitoring
Publisher:John Benjamins


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