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Testing tolerance for lexically-specific factors in Gradient Symbolic Computation

  • JANET G. VAN HELL (a1), CLARA COHEN (a1) and SARAH GREY (a1)


In their keynote article, Goldrick, Putnam and Schwarz (2016) present a computational account of code-mixing. Although they review literature on the co-activation of lexical representations and cognate facilitation effects in bilingual language processing, their model remains silent on how it interfaces with lexical factors, and how lexical factors impact code-switching. One such lexical factor is cognate status, which has been found to affect code-switching, as demonstrated in corpus analyses (e.g., Broersma & De Bot, 2006) and psycholinguistic experiments (Kootstra, Van Hell & Dijkstra, 2012). For example, using the structural priming technique to examine the role of lexical factors in code-switching, Kootstra et al. asked Dutch–English bilinguals to repeat a code-switched prime sentence (starting in Dutch and ending in English) and then describe a target picture by means of a code-switched sentence (also from Dutch into English). They observed that bilinguals' tendency to switch at the same position as in the prime sentence was increased when the prime sentence and target picture contained cognates.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Janet G. van Hell, Department of Psychology, 414 Moore Building, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802 USA


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Broersma, M., & de Bot, K. (2006). Triggered codeswitching: A corpus-based evaluation of the original triggering hypothesis and a new alternative. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 9, 113.
Goldrick, M., Putnam, M., & Schwartz, L. (2016). Coactivation in bilingual grammars: A computational account of code mixing. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition. doi:
Kootstra, G. J., Van Hell, J. G., & Dijkstra, T. (2012). Priming of code-switches in sentences: The role of lexical repetition, cognates, and language proficiency. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 15, 797819.


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