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Academic Paper

Title: Effects of the grammatical representation of number on cognition in bilinguals
Author: Panos Athanasopoulos
Institution: Bangor University
Linguistic Field: Cognitive Science; Syntax
Subject Language: English
Abstract: Research investigating the relationship between language and cognition (Lucy, 1992b) shows that speakers of languages with grammatical number marking (e.g. English) judge differences in the number of countable objects as more significant than differences in the number or amount of non-countable substances. On the other hand, speakers of languages which lack grammatical number marking (e.g. Yucatec) show no such preference. The current paper extends Lucy's (1992b) investigation, comparing monolingual English and Japanese speakers with Japanese speakers of English as a second language (L2). Like Yucatec, Japanese is a non-plural-marking language. Results show that intermediate L2 speakers behave similarly to the Japanese monolinguals while advanced L2 speakers behave similarly to the English monolinguals. The results (a) provide support for the claim that grammatical representation may influence cognition in specific ways and (b) suggest that L2 acquisition may alter cognitive dispositions established by a first language (L1).


This article appears IN Bilingualism: Language and Cognition Vol. 9, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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