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Degree of conversational code-switching enhances verbal task switching in Cantonese–English bilinguals*

  • ODILIA YIM (a1) and ELLEN BIALYSTOK (a1)

Abstract

The study examined individual differences in code-switching to determine the relationship between code-switching frequency and performance in verbal and non-verbal task switching. Seventy-eight Cantonese–English bilinguals completed a semi-structured conversation to quantify natural code-switching, a verbal fluency task requiring language switching, and two non-verbal switching tasks. Participants who engaged in more conversational code-switching showed smaller costs in verbal task switching than those who switched languages less frequently. Participants performed similarly to bilinguals in previous studies on non-verbal switching tasks, but in this case performance was not linked to the degree of conversational code switching. The difference in the influence of code-switching for verbal and non-verbal executive control tasks indicates a dissociation between domains for the mechanism of task switching.

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Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Ellen Bialystok, York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3, Canadaellenb@yorku.ca

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This research was funded by Grant A2559 from the Natural Sciences and Research Council, Canada (NSERC) to Ellen Bialystok. We would like to thank Valerie Cavalieri and Rebecca Zendel for their help in data entry and scoring, and all of the bilinguals who participated in the study.

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References

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Bilingualism: Language and Cognition
  • ISSN: 1366-7289
  • EISSN: 1469-1841
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