Shared and separate systems in bilingual language processing: Converging evidence from eyetracking and brain imaging

  • Marian V
  • Spivey M
  • Hirsch J
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Abstract

The neurological and cognitive aspects of bilingual language processing were examined in late Russian-English bilinguals using headband-mounted eyetracking and functional neuroimaging. A series of three eyetracking studies suggested that, at early stages of word recognition, bilinguals can activate both languages in parallel, even when direct linguistic input is in one language only. A functional neuroimaging study suggested that, although the same general structures are active for both languages, differences within these general structures are present across languages and across levels of processing. For example, different centers of activation were associated with first versus second language processing within the left Inferior Frontal Gyrus, but not within the Superior Temporal Gyrus. We suggest that parallel activation (as found with eyetracking) and shared cortical structures (as found with fMRI) may be characteristic of early stages of language processing (such as phonetic processing), but the two languages may be using separate structures at later stages of processing (such as lexical processing). © 2003 Elsevier Science (USA). All rights reserved.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Bilingualism
  • Brain
  • Eyetracking
  • Language
  • Parallel Processing
  • Phonology
  • Semantics
  • fMRI

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