Is it eas­i­er to use one lan­guage vari­ety at a time or mix them? An online vol­un­tary lan­guage switch­ing study with “bidi­alec­tals”

Dr Neil W. Kirk — Aber­tay University

Pre­vi­ous lan­guage switch­ing stud­ies with “bidi­alec­tal” speak­ers of close­ly relat­ed lan­guage vari­eties has revealed evi­dence for very sim­i­lar lan­guage con­trol process­es as used by more tra­di­tion­al­ly recog­nised bilin­guals.  In this reg­is­tered report study, we extend­ed this inves­ti­ga­tion to deter­mine whether speak­ers of (Scot­tish Stan­dard) Eng­lish and Dun­don­ian Scots also dis­played a mix­ing ben­e­fit as has been found for bilin­guals when they can mix their lan­guages freely. Using an online vol­un­tary lan­guage switch­ing par­a­digm, par­tic­i­pants were cued to use one lan­guage vari­ety at a time (i.e. nam­ing pic­tures of objects in Eng­lish only, and Dun­don­ian only) and were also giv­en blocks in which they could freely name the objects in either vari­ety. While pre­vi­ous research has revealed faster pic­ture nam­ing for bilin­guals in the vol­un­tary vs cued lan­guage blocks, this was not the case for “bidi­alec­tals”. This sug­gests that the lan­guage con­trol process­es used by these speak­ers is not entire­ly sim­i­lar to those used by bilin­guals. In this talk, I will also dis­cuss the strate­gies and expe­ri­ences of using the media to recruit these par­tic­i­pants whose lan­guage expe­ri­ences would not be cap­tured by tra­di­tion­al recruit­ment platforms.

Neil Kirk

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