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Effects of bilingualism on novel word learning in variable contexts

Chennupati, Sindhura (2018) Effects of bilingualism on novel word learning in variable contexts. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This study examined the bilingual advantage at novel word learning in variable contexts, including different language, minimal pair, and background frequency conditions. Participants included English monolinguals and Telugu-English bilinguals. These participants were tested on the same novel word learning task in three artificial languages with sounds from Ewe (English-like), Khmer (Telugu-like), and Arabic (Foreign). In the learning block of these languages, background frequency was manipulated so that each object was paired with a frequent and infrequent background. Participants were tested using a forced-choice procedure, with objects in either a minimal pair or non-minimal pair condition. Bilingual participants also completed the Language Experience and Proficiency Questionnaire in order to determine differences in their proficiency. Results showed that bilingual individuals have an advantage in mean accuracy at novel word learning of words with marked and foreign phonetic contrasts, supporting a combination of both the language-universal and bilingual cognitive theories of bilingual advantages in novel word learning and phonological awareness. Additionally, results showed a greater cost in reaction time in the marked language contrast in bilingual individuals compared to monolingual individuals. This suggests that bilingual individuals have a greater tendency to sacrifice time for accuracy. There was no relationship between mean accuracy or reaction time and background frequency or speaking and understanding proficiency. These variables may not have been salient enough to result in distinct differences in the dependent variables.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Chennupati, Sindhurasic24@pitt.edusic240000-0001-7096-2473
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorDickey, Michaelmdickey@pitt.edumdickey
Committee MemberVance, Janicejvance@pitt.edujvance
Committee MemberDuff, Dawnadduff@pitt.edudduff
Committee MemberMarian,
Date: 24 April 2018
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 16 March 2018
Approval Date: 24 April 2018
Submission Date: 18 April 2018
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 75
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: David C. Frederick Honors College
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences > Communication Science and Disorders
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: bilingualism, novel word learning, phonology
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2018 17:07
Last Modified: 24 Apr 2018 17:07


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