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Representational systems of bilingual speakers of Croatian and German


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Bilić, Marinela and Erdeljac, Vlasta and Sekulić Sović, Maritna. (2015). Representational systems of bilingual speakers of Croatian and German. Govor : časopis za fonetiku, 32(2). pp. 131-153. ISSN 0352-7565

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This study explores the way lexical items of bilingual persons are stored in their memory, particularly in their mental lexicon, on a Croatian (L1) – German (L2) bilingual sample. An attempt was made to discover if a language has its own memory storage or both languages share the same representational system. This study compares the results of respondents with a high competence level in German with the results of participants with low competence level. The experiment described in this study was carried out following the methodology described in Kroll and Dufour (1995), who tried to prove that bilingual speakers with a low competence level in second language have limited access to concepts and that their behavior differs from the behavior of the bilingual speakers with a high competence level in second language. This study tried to prove the same hypothesis on a different language pair Croatian-German (previous study used English-French bilinguals). The E-Prime 2.0 program (Psychology Software Tools, Pittsburgh) is used for the study. This study is based on the hypothesis that the bilingual lexicon is stored in two memory systems while the speaker has low language competence. It is therefore expected that the speaker searching for a word in another language accesses to concepts through the mental lexicon of the first language. The increased second language proficiency brings direct access to the concepts in L2 and not through the first language. The study should be a contribution to a better understanding of the bilingual representational system functioning in Croatian (L1) and German (L2). The results confirm that bilingual speakers of Croatian and German with low competence level in the second (German) language primarily use the translation strategy. Although their second language competence is increasing they rely on the "weak" conceptual connectors between Croatian and German. It has been shown that bilingual speakers with high competence level in the second (German) language conceptually mediate between the two languages.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: bilingualism, lexical processing, mental lexicon
Subjects: Linguistics
Departments: Department of Linguistics
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2019 08:48
Last Modified: 05 Jun 2019 08:48

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