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The acquisition of an artificial logographic script and bilingual working memory : Evidence for L1-specific orthographic processing skills transfer in Chinese-English bilinguals

Meuter, Renata F.I. & Ehrich, John F. (2012) The acquisition of an artificial logographic script and bilingual working memory : Evidence for L1-specific orthographic processing skills transfer in Chinese-English bilinguals. Writing Systems Research, 4(1), pp. 8-29.

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Abstract

Studies of orthographic skills transfer between languages focus mostly on working memory (WM) ability in alphabetic first language (L1) speakers when learning another, often alphabetically congruent, language. We report two studies that, instead, explored the transferability of L1 orthographic processing skills in WM in logographic-L1 and alphabetic-L1 speakers. English-French bilingual and English monolingual (alphabetic-L1) speakers, and Chinese-English (logographic-L1) speakers, learned a set of artificial logographs and associated meanings (Study 1). The logographs were used in WM tasks with and without concurrent articulatory or visuo-spatial suppression. The logographic-L1 bilinguals were markedly less affected by articulatory suppression than alphabetic-L1 monolinguals (who did not differ from their bilingual peers). Bilinguals overall were less affected by spatial interference, reflecting superior phonological processing skills or, conceivably, greater executive control. A comparison of span sizes for meaningful and meaningless logographs (Study 2) replicated these findings. However, the logographic-L1 bilinguals’ spans in L1 were measurably greater than those of their alphabetic-L1 (bilingual and monolingual) peers; a finding unaccounted for by faster articulation rates or differences in general intelligence. The overall pattern of results suggests an advantage (possibly perceptual) for logographic-L1 speakers, over and above the bilingual advantage also seen elsewhere in third language (L3) acquisition.

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ID Code: 52947
Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Bilingualism, Working memory, Logographic processing, Language learning, Language transfer
DOI: 10.1080/17586801.2012.665011
ISSN: 1758-681X (online) 1758-6801 (print)
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > COGNITIVE SCIENCE (170200) > Linguistic Processes (incl. Speech Production and Comprehension) (170204)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 Taylor & Francis Group
Deposited On: 07 Aug 2012 09:01
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2013 12:00

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