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Translation ambiguity and individual differences in L2 vocabulary learning between mono- and bilinguals

Koch, Griffin/E. (2015) Translation ambiguity and individual differences in L2 vocabulary learning between mono- and bilinguals. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This study investigates if a cognitive advantage exists for bilinguals over monolinguals in learning translation-unambiguous and translation-ambiguous vocabulary in an unknown language. In this study, participants learned German vocabulary words, which had 1, 2, or 3 English translations. Two separate groups participated, a bilingual group (14 participants), defined as having English as a native language in addition to another language taught at home since childhood, and a monolingual group (25 participants), defined as being native speakers of only English. Behavioral methods were used to assess adults’ language performance using both accuracy scores and reaction times. Two tests provided results for assessing language learning: a translation production task in which participants said the English translation of a German word presented on a computer screen and a semantic judgment task in which participants decided if a German translation semantically made sense within the context of an English sentence. This study provides additional evidence supporting difficulties of learning translation-ambiguous words compared to translation-unambiguous words. No significant differences existed between the monolinguals and bilinguals in the individual difference tasks or tests of German vocabulary learning. Additionally, correlation analyses indicate that participants with higher English vocabulary knowledge had improved performance in tests of German vocabulary learning.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Koch, Griffin/E.gek21@pitt.eduGEK21
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairTokowicz, Natashatokowicz@pitt.eduTOKOWICZ
Committee MemberSchwartz,
Committee MemberTuninetti, Albaalt63@pitt.eduALT63
Committee MemberWarren, Tessatessa@pitt.eduTESSA
Date: 16 December 2015
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 4 December 2015
Approval Date: 16 December 2015
Submission Date: 10 December 2015
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Number of Pages: 47
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: David C. Frederick Honors College
Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: translation ambiguity bilingual monolingual language acquisition German
Date Deposited: 16 Dec 2015 20:25
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2020 06:15


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