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Representing the bilingual's two lexicons

Thomas, Michael S.C. and Plunkett, K. (1995) Representing the bilingual's two lexicons. In: 17th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, 22-25 Jul 1995, Pittsburg, U.S..

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Abstract

A review of empirical work suggests that the lexical representations of a bilingual’s two languages are independent (Smith, 1991), but may also be sensitive to between language similarity patterns (e.g. Cristoffanini, Kirsner, and Milech, 1986). Some researchers hold that infant bilinguals do not initially differentiate between their two languages (e.g. Redlinger & Park, 1980). Yet by the age of two they appear to have acquired separate linguistic systems for each language (Lanza, 1992). This paper explores the hypothesis that the separation of lexical representations in bilinguals is a functional rather than an architectural one. It suggests that the separation may be driven by differences in the structure of the input to a common architectural system. Connectionist simulations are presented modelling the representation of two sets of lexical information. These simulations explore the conditions required to create functionally independent lexical representations in a single neural network. It is shown that a single network may acquire a second language after learning a first (avoiding the traditional problem of catastrophic interference in these networks). Further it is shown that in a single network, the functional independence of representations is dependent on inter-language similarity patterns. The latter finding is difficult to account for in a model that postulates architecturally separate lexical representations.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information: Published in: Moore, J.D. and Lehman, J.F., eds. 1995. The Proceedings of the 17rd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Science > Psychological Sciences
Depositing User: Sarah Hall
Date Deposited: 18 Apr 2012 13:37
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:33
URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/4652

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