ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2012, Vol. 44 ›› Issue (11): 1434-1442.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2012.01434

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Cross-Language Competition in Language Production of Chinese-as-A-Second-Language Learners

LI Li;GUO Hong-Ting;HUA Le-Meng;FANG Yin-Ping;WANG Rui-Ming   

  1. (1 College of International Culture, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China) (2 Center for Studies of Psychological Application, Guangzhou 510631, China)
  • Published:2012-11-28 Online:2012-11-01
  • Contact: WANG Rui-Ming

Abstract: Several studies reported that there are parallel activations of both languages even when bilinguals intend to speak in only one of their two languages. So does the nontarget language compete for the selection of lexical alternatives? Two types of selection mechanisms have been contrasted. According to the language-specific selection model, bilinguals can intentionally select the right alternative, thereby avoiding potential competition of both languages. In contrast, the non-specific language model allows competition for selection such that candidates across languages actively compete with alternatives in the unintended language, which will eventually inhibit them and allow accurate production to proceed. Recently there are two alternatives for the selection-by-competition model. One is the weak link hypothesis and the other is the L1-repeat-benefit hypothesis. One of the claims for cross-language competition in bilingual word production comes from findings using the picture-word interference (PWI) paradigm. The second approach involves switching the languages of production to examine the consequence of having to prepare alternatives in both languages. Whether there is cross-language competition in the language production of Chinese-as-a-second-language learners? To examine the issue above, this paper completed two experiments using the new paradigm of competitor priming paradigm, which is based on implicit memory. There are 18 Chinese-as-a-second-language learners who are Russian natives in Experiment 1 and 18 learners who are Japanese natives in Experiment 2. Participants were constructed to complete overt picture naming task during the study phase and during the test phase. Naming latencies and accuracy were recorded. 60 black-and-white line drawings were sampled from Zhang and Yang (2003). Both experiments were carried out on computers using E-Prime software. Participants were seated in front of a computer monitor, a button box, a microphone, and a digital recorder. SPSS 16 software was used to analyze the results data. The crucial result of this study is that there is significant facilitation only in the congruent condition. Response time was faster for the old pictures presented in the same language than those for the new pictures. Furthermore, there is no significant difference between response time for the old pictures presented in the different language and those for the new pictures. These results reveal that there is cross-language competition during word production of Chinese-as-a-second-language learners. In conclusion, the present experiment provides evidence for cross-language competition using competitor priming paradigm whether bilinguals’ two languages differ in script or not.

Key words: Chinese-as-a-second-language learners, language production, cross-language competition, long-term cross-language competitor priming