Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00667
Title: Limits on monolingualism? A Comparison of monolingual and bilingual infants' abilities to integrate lexical tone in novel word learning
Authors: Singh, L 
Poh, F.L.S
Fu, C.S.L 
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Frontiers Media S.A.
Citation: Singh, L, Poh, F.L.S, Fu, C.S.L (2016). Limits on monolingualism? A Comparison of monolingual and bilingual infants' abilities to integrate lexical tone in novel word learning. Frontiers in Psychology 7 (MAY) : 667. ScholarBank@NUS Repository. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00667
Abstract: To construct their first lexicon, infants must determine the relationship between native phonological variation and the meanings of words. This process is arguably more complex for bilingual learners who are often confronted with phonological conflict: phonological variation that is lexically relevant in one language may be lexically irrelevant in the other. In a series of four experiments, the present study investigated English-Mandarin bilingual infants' abilities to negotiate phonological conflict introduced by learning both a tone and a non-tone language. In a novel word learning task, bilingual children were tested on their sensitivity to tone variation in English and Mandarin contexts. Their abilities to interpret tone variation in a language-dependent manner were compared to those of monolingual Mandarin learning infants. Results demonstrated that at 12-13 months, bilingual infants demonstrated the ability to bind tone to word meanings in Mandarin, but to disregard tone variation when learning new words in English. In contrast, monolingual learners of Mandarin did not show evidence of integrating tones into word meanings in Mandarin at the same age even though they were learning a tone language. However, a tone discrimination paradigm confirmed that monolingual Mandarin learning infants were able to tell these tones apart at 12-13 months under a different set of conditions. Later, at 17-18 months, monolingual Mandarin learners were able to bind tone variation to word meanings when learning new words. Our findings are discussed in terms of cognitive adaptations associated with bilingualism that may ease the negotiation of phonological conflict and facilitate precocious uptake of certain properties of each language. © 2016 Singh, Poh and Fu.
Source Title: Frontiers in Psychology
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/174269
ISSN: 16641078
DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00667
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