Modeling Language production of the Competent Bilingual
Researchers try to develop models to predict linguistic behavior. The aim is to capture all aspects of language use. The goal is to have a model that describes how language is processed in our brains, but the relationship between functional models that describe how language functions in communication, and structures in the brain.
The creator of the model was William Levelt, he used the term “blue print” that is the structure of the system as it really works in the brain, but when and how is it located, is still unclear. Levelt’s “Speaking” model (1989,1999)
Aims at describing the process of language production from the development of communicative intentions to the articulation of the sounds. It means that your intentions are shown by the sound you are giving into a conversation.
The first component is the “conceptualizer”, this is the level of our thinking. The second component is the “formulator”, isolated words and meanings, are turned into sentences. The third component “the articulator”, sentences translated into sounds.
This means that first we select words, or lexical items, which is divided in lemma and lexeme, of the basis of the meanings we want to express. Then sentence formation, which leads to the spoken expression.
All information about a concept we have. Example: A horse has for legs. It can jump and pull carts Also how it smells and how it sounds
It deals with your body language, the way you are saying something, and the sound you are giving
Psycholinguistically, code-switching andkeeping languages apart are different aspectsof the same phenomenon. In the literature ofnumber of proposals have been made on hoebilingual speakers keep their languages apart.On the basis of research on bilingual aphasia,paradis (1981) has proposed the sub-sethypothesis, which, it is claimed, can accountfor most of the data found. According toParadis , words from given a language form asub-set of the total inventory.
A major advantage of the sub-set hypotesisis that the set of lexical elements from whicha selection has to be made is reduceddramatically as a result of the fact that aparticular language or sub-set has beenchosen. According to de sub-set hypothesis bilingualspeakers have stores for lemmas, lexemes,syntactic rules, morpho-lphonological rulesand elements, and articulatory elements thatare not fundamentally different from those ofmonolingual speakers.
returning to the model, we will now discusshow language choice is implemented. Inspeaking, the step which is probably mostcrucial is the marching of chunks from thepre-verbal message with the meaning part oflemmas, because here the transition fromconceptualization to language-specificcoding takes place.
the syntactic information refers to thesyntactic category of a lemma and itsgrammatical functions. When a lemma isactivated, its particular syntacticenvironmental is defined as well: forexample, the verb sell will involve a subject,an object and a prepositional phrase. In thepreceding sections we gave a shortdescription of the production model thatrepresents the state of the art at the moment.However, many aspects of bilingualprocessing are still unclear.
Compared to research on language comprehension, there is as yet not that much experimental research on language production. The reason for this is that the kind of careful manipulations of the stimuli that may be made in comprehension studies cannot be done in a similar way in language production.
In studies of comprehension, a word, a sentence or text can be presented and we can examine the way in which proccessing reflects it’s structure and meaning.
Recent studies have used a set of experimental tasks to constrain the words that speakers produce in order to investigate the planning of utterances in real time.
In a picture-naming task, participants are shown are shown a picture of a drawing and asked to speak the name of the picture aloud as quickly and as accurately as possible. By measuring the time to begin to speak the picture’s name in L1 or L2 it is possible to infer the bilingual’s relativeprofiency in the two languages.
Typically, even proficient bilinguals are faster to name pictures in L1 than L2. However, the time difference alone does not reveal the source of language difference. One possibility is simply that bilingual speakers are slower to access the phonology of L2 than L1 and therefore they are slower on any production task in L2.
The main empirical approach to language production in monolinguals has been to examine the patterns and timecourse of interference effects in a variant of the picture-naming task know as picture-word interference.
A picture is pressented to be named, but nowa word distractor is also pressented and the participant is instructed to ignore the word and name the picture.
By varying the time at wich the word is pressented relative to the picture and the relationof the word to the picture’s name, it is possible to infer the nature of the processes that must have been operating at different moments in time prior to speaking.
Some recent studies have shown that concepts that can be named in two alternative ways(close synonyms) compete with each other during speech planning, to the point where the phonology of both alternatives appears to be active.
A set of recent experiments has examined thes issue in bilingual speakers using the picture-word interferance task. The result is that they find evidence of cross-language semantics inteferance. This suggest that lemmas are active in both languages are active during speaking.
We might tentatively conclude that language selection occurs at the level of lemma, but work in this area is too new to reach such firm conclusions.
I LLUSTRATIVE RESEARCH ONSECOND LANGUAGE ACQUSITION The topic of selectivity of lexical access mentioned above in the discussion of language production research is a key issue in understanding how knowledge of the bilingual’s two language is organized and accessed.
One aproach to this problem was to ask bilinguals to make lexical decisions about letter strings that might be words in one or both of their languages.
In lexical decision task, letter strings are presented and the participant must decide whether they are real words or not. The participant must take the decision as quickly as possible and indicate his or her respones by pressing Yes or No button.
Gerard and Scarborough (1989) used the lexical decision to test the selectivity of lexical access by having English- Spanish bilinguals judge whether letter strings were real words in their L2. The condition of interest consisted of the interlingual homographs or false friends- words that exist in both of the bilingual´s languages, but that have different meanings in the two languages.
For example in Spanish the word red means net, whereas in English the same letter string refers to a colour.
If lexical access is selective then it should be possible for a bilingual to retrieve only the language- appropiate reading of the homograph. Gerard and Scarborough (1989) found support for the selective hypothesis because bilinguals were able to accept and interlingual homograph as a real word as quickly as a control word that was exclusively a word in one language only.
D EVELOPING LEXICAL PROFICIENCY IN A SECOND LANGUAGE . The main focus in psycholinguistics research on the development of L2 expertise has instead been on the avaliability of the L1 translation equivalent during L2 processing. Potter (1984) Feldman (1984) used the comparision between picture naming and single word translation as means of determining whether bilinguals were able to acess concepts directly for L2 or whether access proceeded through the L1 first.
F ORGETTING AND RELEARNING Level of acqusition of linguistic knowledge is crucial in production and perception. Through non- use of a language, the level of activation of knowledge in language decreases, even to the point that knowledge is considered lost. An important point for foreign language teaching is how such knowledge can be reactivated again.
M ANY PEOPLE ASSUME THAT WORDS CAN BE LOST COMPLETELY, BUT IT IS TRUE ? Bot and Stoessel(2000) made use of the Saving method for establishing low levels of activation of items in memory. This method is based on the assumption that words, once learned, are never really lost. Also motivation is important, as it leads to learners actively seeking opportunities to use the foreing language in different settings.