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Psycholinguistic complexity in codeswitching*
Paola E. Dussias
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Portions of this paper were presented at the SLATE Colloquium Series, University of Illinois. I am grateful to the audience at the colloquium and to Carol Myers -Scotton for helpful comments. My thanks to Louise Neary and three anonymous reviewers for suggestions for improving this paper. Responsibility for any shortcomings is my own.
The functional element effect (Muysken, 1997) refers to the systematic codeswitching favoritism of certain grammatical categories to appear in one language versus the other during codeswitched speech. The current paper explores whether this comprehension effect, often observed in production, is replicated in on -line comprehension results. As a preliminary test, we compared the results of published frequency counts involving Spanish -English codeswitches with comprehension - timed Spanish-English experimental results. Two syntactic sites were analyzed: switches between a noun and its determiner and switches between a complementizer and its IP. Production frequencies for these sites were taken from Milian (1996, cited in Myers -Scotton & Jake, 1997) and Sankoff and Poplack (1981). Comprehension data were taken from Dussias (1997). Comparisons of the two sets of data show that corpus frequency and comprehension complexity are inversely related to each other in that the more frequent a codeswitch is in corpora, the less difficult it is to process.
Since Lance’s (1969) publication of his seminal paper on Spanish- English bilingualism in Texas, a series of equally influential studies have examined the regularity of occurrence of certain types of codeswitches in bilingual production data. These studies show that there is a systematic favoritism for switches to involve certain grammatical categories over others during codeswitched speech. In this respect, the available literature indicates that there is an asymmetry between functional elements1 and lexical elements in intrasentential codeswitching in that functional elements are typically not codeswitched along with their corresponding lexical elements in codeswitched utterances. As a result, while functional elements tend to appear in one language, lexical elements appear in the other language (Muysken, 1997).
Following Cowper(1992), we define functional elements as categories that lack substantive meaning, do not assign theta roles, are closed classes (no new words can be created), and do not permit recursion on X- bar. Lexical elements, on the other hand, are defined as categories that have substantive meaning, assign theta roles to their arguments, are open classes, and permit indefinite recursion on X- bar. Under this definition, COMP, INFL and DET are instances of functional elements, and N, V and A instances of lexical elements. ,
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The International Journal of Bilingualism
More specif ically. and Toribio (1994). The question we ask. certain structures may be frequent yet still relatively complex for the comprehension mechanism to process. occurs during comprehension as well. e. 1997) corpus.English codeswitches. p.g. Spanish and English were chosen as the object of this study primarily because the only available comprehension data to date involve these two languages. Although the specific nature of the relationship between the bilingual production and comprehension systems is yet unclear.88 P. At the very least. yet rare for reasons other than complexity. if the production and comprehension systems are linked to one another. The International Journal of Bilingualism . then. Dussias The aim of this study is to determine whether this functional element effect. Then. Finally. this paper compares the results of several published corpora analyses of codeswitches involving Spanish and English with reading time results reported in Dussias (1997) 2.. cited in Myers-Scotton & Jake.) has noted that the optimal or least complex codeswitched constituent in terms of production effort is one where functional elements come from the matrix language and content elements come from the embedded language. Myers Scotton (1999. switches in which Det appears in Spanish and N in English are more frequent than switches in which both Det and N appear in English. Rubin. In addition.c. Hence. where it is reported that 81% of the switches occurring in Det +N constructions consist 2 The purpose of this study was to test the validity of the Functional Head Constraint of Belazi. We begin by presenting corpora frequencies from Spanish. 1991. attested in production data. Gibson & Pearlmutter. it seems uncontroversial that there exists some connection between the two. 1994).1 The functional element effect in Spanish-English production data Several studies looking at Spanish. regardless of how this information is encoded (Garret. by reading times) as we find in production data. we might expect to find some of the same patterns of complexity in comprehension data (as measured. it is easy to imagine that the situation can turn out to be otherwise.English codeswitching show that when switches involve nominal phrases of the Determiner (Det) +Noun (N) type. 1. Because corpus reflects production data and reading times look at on -line comprehension processes. during sentence comprehension and sentence production. we present the on-line findings involving switches in nominal phrases and switches in embedded sentences headed by a complementizer. the two systems must access some of the same lexical representations and the same grammatical knowledge.e. Notice that although we may very well expect some convergence in the data patterns from frequency counts and on-line data. is whether this same type of codeswitched constituent is also easier to understand during bilingual sentence comprehension. This asymmetry is attested in the Milian (1996. we discuss the implications of the findings for current models of bilingual language processing. In order to test whether the functional element effect occurs in comprehension data (i. E. whether comprehension is easier when the functional element comes from the matrix language and the lexical elements from the embedded language). it is possible to find differential performance in these two different behaviors.. whereas other structures may be easy to comprehend.
The International Journal of Bilingualism . for example.3%. which increases to 3. However.1997. la POTATO de anoche. Spanish. ‘No. looking at Puerto Rican Spanish and English. report that the relative propensity of switches between the Det and N is 13% in their data. only 6% of the switches are English nouns accompanied by English determiners. what Di Sciullo.IP most frequently encountered in naturalistic data.2% in their data. you finished with it. This contrasts with the propensity of switches that occur between the subordinate conjunction and the following category.2– 2.9%.. 3 Examples (1) to (5) illustrate the types of codeswitches involving Det. the potato from last night.’ (Milian. Lipski (1985) and Sankoff and Poplack (1981). We would like to point out that although single nouns may. no. 1975. The fact that subordinate conjunctions tend to appear in the language of the head element on which they depend (i.61% for switches preceding the Spanish subordinate conjunction que vs. 2. suggests that these subordinate conjunctions are subject to minimal syntactic participation in codeswitching.English) (2) Es una LITTLE BOX asina y ya viene. 1996. note that switches in which subordinate conjunctions bond with the language of the rest of the subordinate clause are somewhat less frequent than switches where the conjunction and the subordinate clause appear in different languages (1. my parents are going to come for the holidays. and Treffers -Daller (1995) refer to as “the governor”. These authors note that the relative propensity for the subordinate conjunction to be the site of a codeswitch is less than 0. Muysken. Sankoff and Poplack (1981). A more dramatic difference is reported in Sankoff and Poplack (1981). or “the case assigner”). YOU acabaste con ella. Examples (6) and (7) illustrate the more infrequent switches: (1) Mis padres van a venir para los HOLIDAYS. whereas the remainder of the dependent clause is switched.Psycholinguistic complexity in codeswitching 89 of English nouns and Spanish determiners.English) (3) No.. The limited participation of Complementizer (Comp) in codeswitching reported in corpora data provides another example of this functional element effect. whereas the cases involving nouns reflect borrowing and not codeswitching. 1996. Spanish. ‘My parents are going to come for the holidays..e. Raw frequencies. cited in Myers-Scotton.1997. & Singh (1986). do not give a clear picture of the quantitative outcomes of a syntactic context on codeswitching. Perhaps nouns are five or 10 times more likely to occur in discourse than subordinate clauses.01% for switches following the subordinate conjunction).. while subordinate clauses may make up only 5%.. Halmari (1997).NP and Comp . is a little box like this and already comes… ‘It is a little box like this and it comes already…’ (Lance. then. the potato from last night. for example. whereas syntactic sites involving Det + N and either a preceding or following category are switched at a rate of approximately 2.’ (Milian. this does not indicate that we are necessarily dealing with different phenomena. you finished it. cited in Myers-Scotton & Jake. Spanish.English) 3 An anonymous reviewer has pointed out that the discrepancy in the frequency of occurrence of codeswitched IPs versus NPs (or Ns) suggests that different phenomena are at work: The cases of embedded sentences headed by a complementizer represent true cases of codeswitching. Similarly. constitute 25% of the switches.
and do not count as separate elements in motor planning units. these traits make function words less prone to undergo codeswitching. Spanish casa and English house).. Dussias (4) Se me hace que I HAVE TO RESPECT HER porque’ ta… OLDER. which is psycholinguistically based.English) (5) (6) (7) Several accounts have been put forth to explain this so -called functional element effect. Function words.English) Janet dijo THAT SHE WANTED TO END THE CLASS EARLY TODAY Janet said that she wanted to end the class early today ‘Janet said that she wanted to end the class early today. since it is relatively easy to find a match between two content words in different languages (e.. 1985. In addition.English) Los hombres comieron THE SANDWICHES. The model. Another account is provided by Myers -Scotton’s Matrix Language Frame Model (1993.English) I’m not sayin’ that SON CHUECOS. also found in Muysken (1997). say.’ (Dussias.90 P. 1975. they are less likely to participate in codeswitching. 1996. a Spanish noun. I neg say that. The argument goes something like this. A content word. are less often preceded by pauses than content words. Muysken (1997) has suggested that the source of this effect is partly psycholinguistic. are more predictable than content words. Spanish. YO NO DIGO ESO. ‘It appears to me that I have to respect her because [she] is. 1985. The Matrix Language is defined as “the main language in codeswitching utterances… [It is the language that specifies] the morpheme order and The International Journal of Bilingualism .. see also Myers-Scotton. finding a match between two function words is. I am not saying that. I’m not saying that are old. An additional account. ‘The men ate the sandwiches. tries to account for codeswitching behavior by relating it to models of monolingual speech production. the men ate the sandwiches.. more difficult.’ (Klavans. pronoun to me appears that I have to respect her because is… older. These factors result in a decrease in the involvement of function words in codeswitching. 1995). Spanish.’ (Lance. deals with the low degree of “insertability” of functional elements vis -à-vis lexical elements into a syntactic frame. 1997. nouns are inserted quite effortlessly. Spanish.’ (Lipski.older. would be easily insertable in an English frame because both the Spanish noun and the English noun it would replace instantiate the category N. function words are not accessed independently of syntactic information. In addition. ‘I am not saying that [they] are old. Because function words are less vulnerable to lexical access effects than content words. are not easily definable because they are made up of highly specific features. Combined. E. Hence. presumably. on the other hand. Spanish.g.. and partially rooted in the automaticity that characterizes function words. A key feature of the model is the distinction between Matrix Language and Embedded Language.
4 Given that the participants were born. in a more informal environment.e. All participants took part in a 20.Psycholinguistic complexity in codeswitching 91 supplies the syntactically relevant morphemes in constituents consisting of morphemes from both participating languages” (1993. that between system morphemes and content morphemes.) and open -class items (i. 1.e.). giving rise to a codeswitched constituent that has a Spanish system morpheme and an English content morpheme. the Spanish determiner ‘los’ is accessed and inserted into the syntactic frame. on the other. to determine whether there was a reading time cost associated with certain types of switches.e. The subjects that participated in the study were taken from a pool of 51 fluent Spanish . for the most part. p. raised. refers to the other language that participates in codeswitching. Drawing from the differential behavior of closed -class and open . it was assumed that language fluency in English was native-like. since the participants had learned the language home.2 The functional element effect in Spanish-English comprehension data Dussias (1997) performed on-line reading experiments on different codeswitching types between functional and lexical elements. but not identical. p. etc. Only those participants who were rated by both interviewers as having nativelike fluency in Spanish were subsequently given a language background questionnaire.e. in codeswitching utterances involving Det + Noun (Examples (1) through (3) above) and Comp + IP (Examples (4) and (5) above). whereas content morphemes are supplied by the Embedded Language. since.class morphemes in monolingual speech production data. In (1) above. Noun and IP) appear in English. determiner.4 The interview was informal and interviewers discussed topics such as family. The Embedded Language. complementizer.c. Hence... and educated in the United States.face interview with two monolingual Spanish speakers. Myers -Scotton (1993.to . content words) in monolingual speech production studies.minute face . to the one made between closed -class items (i. the most frequent codeswitches are those where the determiner and the complementize r appear in Spanish and their corresponding complements (i. since the determiner is accessed according to the morphosyntactic specifications of Spanish (the Matrix Language). on the one hand. inflection. for example. according to Myers -Scotton (1999. Myers -Scotton proposes that during codeswitched speech system morphemes are expected to participate in codeswitching in a different way from content morphemes. 1997) proposes a further distinction.English bilinguals. the optimal type of constituent from a psycholinguistic perspective because. it provides the content morphemes in codeswitched constituents. Its role is less prominent than that of the Matrix Language. The distinction is similar... it is produced faster and with less effort than other types of codeswitches (i. The purpose of the interview was to determine the level of fluency in Spanish of the prospective participants. career/future plans and social life. This is so because system morphemes are selected following the morphosyntactic specifications set by the Matrix Language. 3). This type of codeswitched constituency is. and their complements. English content morphemes that are congruent with the morphosyntactic specifications set by the Matrix Language are later inserted in the codeswitched constituent ( ‘holidays’in this case). The Matrix Language Frame Model provides an explanation for why. The International Journal of Bilingualism . on the other hand. whole noun phrase codeswitches). and could have had fewer opportunities to develop the different facets of the language. fluency was tested in Spanish but not in English. presumably. The same assumption about their fluency in Spanish could not be made with confidence.
This is because RT1 reflects the time it takes the subject to construct an initial analysis of the sentence input. The first factor referred to the matrix language (whether the direction of the codeswitch was from Spanish to English or vice-versa). the experimental sentences) similar to the one in (8) below. subjects were instructed to read as fast as they could. Two factors were manipulated in order to assess (1) whether direction of the switch influenced reaction times. In this task. The more complex a stimulus is... including academic and nonacademic settings. 2 (RT2). These two factors were combined to form a 2 ´ 2 factorial design.. Hence. to match it against the first. Mary went to the party/Mary went to the party) or different (e. one beneath the other. and to indicate a SAME or DIFFERENT response. Subjects reported using both languages in their daily lives and in a variety of contexts. but not so fast that their accuracy would be affected. which represented the reading time for the initial word string. and response time. subjects are required to sit in front of a computer screen and to read two sentences that appear sequentially on the screen. The experimental items consisted of 40 SAME sentence pairs (i. a response time cost associated with RT1 can be less equivocally interpreted as a reflection of complexity than a response time cost associated with RT2. the more time a subject is expected to need to read the stimulus. based on Stevenson (1992). Subjects are asked to read each sentence. The tool used for data collection was the Response-Contingent Sentence Matching Task. and to indicate whether the sentences on the screen are the same (e. Both the onset of the display of both sentences and the removal of the pair of sentences from the screen was entirely controlled by the subject. whereas RT2 reflects the added time that the processor takes to match the sentence against the first one and to make a SAME/DIFFERENT decision. and also had two levels: language mismatch and language match. which was a record of the time it took to read the second sentence. and had two levels: Spanish and English. Dussias The questionnaire revealed that participants were first generation Americans of Mexican heritage and had learned Spanish from birth and English before the age of six (in a school setting). This technique required the recording of two different response times: Responsetime 1 (RT1). It is for this reason that here we focus only on the RT1 latencies.two Spanish . thereby ensuring that each subject had sufficient time to read both sentences. 1. There is no fixed time governing the duration of the sentence presentation. Under this assumption. which is outlined in Table 1. Thirty. and (2) whether switches between Det and NP caused an increase in response time.g. Both speed and accuracy of response were important during the execution of the task. the use of reading time as a measure of psycholinguistic complexity presupposes that complexity and reading latencies are in direct proportion to each other. Mary went to the party/Cary went to the party) by pressing a button.92 P.e.English bilinguals participated in this experiment. E.g. All subjects reported being codeswitchers.3 Switches involving Det and NP The first experiment in Dussias (1997) tested whether a reading time cost was associated with sentences exhibiting a switch between Det and its NP complement. The International Journal of Bilingualism . Clearly. The second factor referred to switch site (whether the switch occurred at Det or at N).
In (8c) and (8d).g. The International Journal of Bilingualism . Finally. This results in a codeswitched constituent formed by a Spanish determiner and an English noun. In addition. 24 FILLER sentence pairs were constructed. the direction of the switch is from English to Spanish. but required a DIFFERENT response from the subjects (e. Twelve were SAME and twelve were DIFFERENT. and were included to distract the participants from the objective of the experiment. Finally. on the other hand. An additional set of 40 DIFFERENT sentence pairs was generated. half of the sentences began in Spanish and the other half in English. Hence. Half of the DIFFERENT sentence pairs began in Spanish and the other half in English. although all the participants read all three types of sentences. In (8b) the switch occurs at the determiner. The reading times for the four conditions are given in Figure 1.. These items contained switches that were different in structure from the experimental sentences. the locus of the codeswitch is the noun BOOKS. the entire critical noun phrase THE BOOKS appears in English. These sentences were similar to the experimental items in structure and content. the DIFFERENT items and the FILLERS were distributed evenly throughout the duration of the experiment and their presentation was randomized for each subject. none read all the sentences in an item set. they were not included in the statistical analysis. Sentences (8c) and (8d) are mirror images of (8a) and (8b). The difference between the two pairs of sentences lies in the direction of the codeswitch.Psycholinguistic complexity in codeswitching 93 Table 1 Sam ple set of SAM E item s for switches involving D et and N F a cto rs 8a Spanish – Mismatch S a m p le S et L a m a e stra c o m p ró lo s BOOKS FOR THE CHILDREN L a m a e stra c o m p ró lo s BOOKS FOR THE CHILDREN ‘The teacher bought the books for the children’ 8b Spanish – Match L a m a e stra c o m p ró THE BOOKS FOR THE CHILDREN L a m a e stra c o m p ró THE BOOKS FOR THE CHILDREN ‘The teacher bought the books for the children’ 8c English – Mismatch T h e te a ch e r b o u g h t th e LIBROS PARA LOS NIÑOS T h e te a ch e r b o u g h t th e LIBROS PARA LOS NIÑOS ‘The teacher bought the books for the children’ 8d English – Match T h e te a ch e r b o u g h t LOS LIBROS PARA LOS NIÑOS T h e te a ch e r b o u g h t LOS LIBROS PARA LOS NIÑOS ‘The teacher bought the books for the children’ In the case of (8a). The SAME items. In (8a) and (8b) the direction of the switch is from Spanish to English. Given that the DIFFERENT sentences were included only to ensure that subjects were performing the task appropriately. El señor se olvidó los BOOKS FOR HIS FRIENDS/El señor se olvidó los BOOTS FOR HIS FRIENDS ‘The man forgot the books/boots for his friends’).
but not vice -versa. “The teacher bought” is an English phrase whereas “La maestra compró” is a Spanish phrase) and thus may be subject to different lexical access latencies. The basic idea is that during the process of codeswitching. 1993. 1985. Note that this problem is eliminated when comparing pairs like (8a) and (8b) because the sentences vary in one and only one respect: the factor being tested. which also contained an infrequent codeswitch. 1985. it is this same direction that participants in Dussias (1997) reported switching most frequently. 1993.28) = 17. Soares & Grojean.. & Park. Park. p < . Grojean. two or more languages are being accessed simultaneously.94 P. the difference between the two was not significant. the fact that sentences (8c) and (8d) are translations of sentences (8a) and (8b) does not necessarily make the two sets of sentences suitable for comparison. Joshi. 1986. However.e. 1984. Sridhar & Sridhar. for example. an anonymous reviewer has suggested that these sentences should have taken at least as much time to read as sentence (8b). and was only observable when the direction of the switch was from Spanish to English. In addition.g. Myers -Scotton. F (1.01. Troike. The International Journal of Bilingualism . 5 An interesting result emerging from this experiment was that subjects exhibited a genuine preference for switched constituents where the functional element — los in the example above — did not participate in the codeswitch.30. Dussias Figure 1 Mean response time (in milliseconds) for switches between Det and Noun A 3-way Analysis of Variance revealed that there was a statistically significant reading time cost associated with sentence type (8b) vis-à-vis (8a). 90% of the subjects that participated in the study reported codeswitching from Spanish into English.. Hence. Klavans. but linguistic information from the two languages is available in nonidentical ways. a comparison between the two sentence types is not a valid one because any observed difference in reading times could be due to factors other than the one in questions. 1980) by invoking the existence of a matrix or base language and an embedded or host language during codeswitching. Sentence (8c). E. although there was a numerical advantage for sentence type (8d) over (8c). That is. Incidentally. Such directional asymmetry observed in codeswitching has been discussed in a number of studies (e. The base language is more strongly activated and guides the process of sentence formulation. The finding that on -line psycholinguistic results replicate the preferences observed 5 Following the proposal that sentences (8c) and (8d) contain codeswitches that are unfamiliar to the participants. is made up of words that are different from the ones found in sentence (8a) (i. This preference manifested itself as a reading time advantage for condition (8a) versus (8b). 1988. Nishimura.
It is noteworthy to mention that the notion of government. then. as well as syntactic knowledge. we are only a step away from explaining the time advantage observed for condition (8a) over (8b). proposed the following: If (1) X has a language index q. Di Sciullo et al. the processor needs to evaluate whether the juxtaposition of the two languages is legitimate. In essence. produces benefits by avoiding additional work required by the processor to determine whether a codeswitch is possible and by reducing the chances of exceeding the memory limits of the sentence processing mechanism. of course. From here. This suggests a picture where the lack of a difference in response times for these switches might stem from the fact that once the processor establishes that English to -Spanish switches are “unfamiliar. then. Spanish -to -English codeswitches that exclude the Determiner from the codeswitching process are more frequent than switches that involve both the Determiner and the Noun. At this point.” it must go through the same number of steps — which would amount to employing the same amount of time — to evaluate whether the juxtaposition of the two languages in both cases is syntactically possible. Condition (8b) takes longer to read because these switches are less frequent. hence.structure by the government relation that existed between sentence constituents. the processor presumably analyzes the linguistic input in a reasonably exhaustive fashion. the processor is speedier in constructing a full representation for(8a). Their proposal states that codeswitching is constrained at S .frequency data reported in the previous section and comprehension data found for sentences like (8a) and (8b). The answer may lie in the level of language processing reflected by the reading time measure. This would entail accessing discourse and pragmatic knowledge. the processor accesses information regarding directionality of the codeswitch.Psycholinguistic complexity in codeswitching 95 in naturalistic data suggests that the functional element effect often noted in production occurs during comprehension as well. central in DiSciullo et al’s (1986) study predicts the time advantage observed for condition (8a) ( “…compró los books for the children …”) over condition (8b) ( “ …compró the books for the children…”). This presupposes. Let’s imagine for a moment that in trying to build the best “interpretive story” for codeswitched sentences. and (3) Y is a maximal projection filled with a single lexical The International Journal of Bilingualism . syntactic analysis is facilitated by the fact that what is frequent is presumed by the processor to be syntactically admissible. But what about the cases where the direction of the switch is from English to Spanish? One reason for the lack of a time advantage for sentence type (8c) vis-à-vis (8d) might center around the fact that these types of switches are not part of the participant ’s experiences. Because frequent codeswitches are assumed by the processor to be permissible. (2) X governs Y. These authors relate codeswitching constraints to the once dominant syntactic theory of Government and Binding of Chomsky (1981). the frequency information with which the particular site under analysis undergoes codeswitching becomes available. the processor needs to analyze whether the juxtaposition of the two languages is syntactically possible. When the processor recognizes a particular juxtaposition as frequent. we are left with the question of what mechanisms are responsible for the similarities between the corpus. Reading entails a level of processing in which a full meaning representation of the sentence input is constructed. that the comprehension system keeps track of (at least certain types of) frequency information. Let’s further suppose that to speed up this task. Frequency information. If the processor establishes that the direction of the codeswitch is familiar. In carrying out the task.
. corpus analyses have revealed that switches at Comp occur at a lesser frequency than switches between Comp and IP. for example. Reading times for conditions (9a) and (9b) confirmed that there were longer latencies in the (b) than in the (a) condition. we have explained the time advantage for (a) over (b) by proposing that one of the tasks that the language processor engages in when it encounters codeswitched constructions is to 6 However. If the functional element effect occurs in comprehension as well. there need not be a single base or matrix language for the clause. This prediction requires further experimentation by testing codeswitching in governed and ungoverned syntactic sites (precisely the work of Dussias in progress). sentences (9c) and (9d) should take approximately the same amount of time to read since neither type of codeswitch (in the sense of directionality of the switch) is familiar to the subjects. Dussias item. then Y must also have language index q.. Materials consisted of 40 SAME sentence sets (each corresponding with the four experimental conditions exemplif ied in Table 2). p < . 1. A 3-way Analysis of Variance revealed that this difference was statistically reliable. The longer latencies for sentence type (b) over type (a) support the hypothesis made above that the least complex codeswitch in terms of comprehension is one in which functional elements do not participate in the codeswitch. In the case of the data presented here. the language index of the highest element in Y must also hold language index q. although there was a numerical advantage for condition (d) over condition (c). that different constraints hold when switching occurs from A to B and from B to A).01. the government constraint would not be able to account for the lack of difference found in sentence types (8c) and (8d). and (3) Y has several lexical elements. In the preceding section. As stated earlier. to (9a) below. E. the subject position). (8c) should have taken significantly less time to read than sentence (8d). it is predicted that readers should take less time reading sentences similar. Forty Spanish-English bilinguals participated in this experiment. the difference was not significant.g. who state that subordinate conjunctions [i.4 Switches involving Comp and IP Dussias (1997) also tested whether constituents with a codeswitch between a complementizer (Comp) and its complement (IP) would be read faster than constituents in which the switch occurred at Comp. The results are given in Figure 2. In addition. que/that] show a weaker bond with the language of the rest of the subordinate clause than do. which contain switches at Comp. no reading time advantage should be observed when the codeswitch occurs in an ungoverned position (i.e. if (1) X has a language index q. (2) X governed Y. 40 DIFFERENT sentence sets and 24 FILLERS.. coordinate conjunctions. rendering the latter switch harder to read. which contain switches between Comp and IP. Even if we claim the existence of some constraint-satisfaction restriction based on the notions of matrix and embedded language (e.96. the government model would run into difficulty because in the perspective of the model. The International Journal of Bilingualism . Based on the findings from the previous experiment. Following the same line of argument presented above.e.96 P. F (1. the verb’s requirement of a Spanish determiner heading the determiner phrase is met in the sentence La maestra compró los books for the children but not in La maestra compró the books for the children. However.36) = 13. than they would reading sentences like (9b). This statistical tendency has further been captured by Lipski (1985) and Sankoff and Polack (1981).6 Under this account.
This information is then used to construct an initial analysis of the sentence. To speed up this process. Since frequency information is not available for either codeswitch type. the processor must go through the same number of steps to evaluate both cases. A time advantage is obtained for familiar and frequent codeswitches because the processor assumes that a frequently occurring switch is syntactically possible. thereby bypassing the level of syntactic analysis that would be needed to determine the existence of syntactic congruency. The International Journal of Bilingualism . the processor accesses information regarding familiarity with the direction of the codeswitch and the frequency with which the site undergoes switching.Psycholinguistic complexity in codeswitching 97 Table 2 Sam ple set of SAM E item s for switches involving Com p and IP F a cto rs 9a Spanish – Mismatch S a m p le S et Ju a n p en sa b a q u e THE AIRPLANE ARRIVED AT SIX Ju a n p en sa b a q u e THE AIRPLANE ARRIVED AT SIX ‘John thought that the airplane arrived at six’ 9b Spanish – Match Ju a n p en sa b a THAT THE AIRPLANE ARRIVED AT SIX Ju a n p en sa b a THAT THE AIRPLANE ARRIVED AT SIX ‘John thought that the airplane arrived at six” 9c English – Mismatch Jo h n th o u g h t th a t EL AVIÓN LLEGÓ A LAS SEIS Jo h n th o u g h t th a t EL AVIÓN LLEGÓ A LAS SEIS ‘John thought that the airplane arrived at six’ 9d English — Match Jo h n th o u g h t QUE EL AVIÓN LLEGÓ A LAS SEIS Jo h n th o u g h t QUE EL AVIÓN LLEGÓ A LAS SEIS ‘John thought that the airplane arrived at six’ Figure 2 Mean response time (in milliseconds) for switches between Comp and IP determine whether the juxtaposition of the two languages meets certain syntactic congruency conditions. whatever these maybe. The lack of a difference found in sentences (9c) and (9d) is explained by assuming that once the processor establishes that English -to -Spanish codeswitches are unfamiliar. information regarding the permissibility of the codeswitch is not readily available to build a syntactic representation of the sentence.
Received: March. however. On the other hand. The results reported in this study are preliminary. This paper provides further evidence that the underlying grammatical structure of codeswitched sentences is sensitive to category inclusion values. How the comprehension and production systems are related to each other remains a question to be explored further. Mitchell. 1979. reading times look at comprehension processes whereas corpus reflects production data. the comprehension and production systems may have similar underlying constraints. In order for a fully ramified model of language comprehension and production during codeswitching to come into existence. since. replicating in reading times the preference patterns that Lipski (1985). the comprehension of these utterances may take place to a great degree independent of these principles. although two possibilities are suggested here. these results are consistent with a situation in which production is constrained in a principled manner but comprehension is sensitive predominantly to information about statistical frequency. accepted: January. However. 1996. as discussed previously. that this possibility is quite removed from the hypothesis postulating the existence of mechanisms that deal specifically with the requirements of only one of the two systems (see. Frazier & Clifton. Dussias 2. it will be necessary to further study language . The convergence of data from these disparate sources supports the hypothesis that corpora and comprehension data are somehow interdependent. Mitchell. & Corley. since only a few functional categories were involved in data collection.switching behavior to gain knowledge of both the linguistic competence of the bilingual speaker and the psycholinguistic variables which interact with such knowledge to produce the singular behavior that we call codeswitching. 1999.98 P. In other words.g. and Sankoff and Poplack (1981) found in corpora frequencies: Codeswitched constituents in which functional elements do not participate in the codeswitching process are preferred over codeswitched constituents in which functional elements do participate in the switch. it is easy to imagine that the situation could have been otherwise. they do suggest some future avenues with which to examine the cognitive structures underlying bilingual language switching. Cuetos. E.. e. although linguistic and discourse principles may underlie the frequency patterns observable in spontaneous discourse for codeswitched utterances. Milian (1996). Although we have observed a relatively clean convergence in the data patterns from the frequency counts from corpus analysis and on -line comprehension effects. 1999. It must be noted. On the one hand. General Discussion The comprehension results described here corroborate the results of corpus-analysis. in that certain intrasentential switches are psycholinguistically less complex than others. revised: June. 1996. Frazier. 1994 for constraints dealing with the requirements of the parser). 2000 The International Journal of Bilingualism .
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