Second Language Word Processing Abilities of Kurdish-‎Persian Bilinguals ‎

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Second Language Word Processing Abilities of Kurdish-‎Persian Bilinguals ‎
  International Journal of A ISSN 2200-3592 (Print),IS Vol.3No.2;March2014Copyright © Australian Int Second Language Far Te Islamic Azad Tel: Received:12-11-2013 doi:10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.3n.2p.138 The research is financed by Islamic Aza Abstract The present study investigates the app abilities of Kurdish learners of Persian. L1 as a mediating tool to process L2 processing. 10 Kurdish-Persian biling native speakers of Persian who were fl task. They had todecide whether word picture recognition task in order to com Kurdish-Persian bilinguals performed bilinguals were comparable on both suggested that L1 and pictures have dif Keywords: bilingualism, processing, tr 1. Introduction “Bilingualism is a major fact of life i which are spoken in the world” (Bha children throughout the world are matu in school environment. In Iran, many p like, Kurdish, Laki, and Turkish as th However, there are some bilinguals w language processing in bilingual adults be very helpful in teaching a second processing, first and second language r words in second language or word pro necessary to explain two more concep conceptual system for first and secon Second, because words are the basic systems are connected in the minds of b 1.1 The representation of conceptual an There are different definitions for bilin concepts of a language were stored in bilingualisms.  plied Linguistics & English Literature N 2200-3452 (Online)    ernational Academic Centre, Australia  Word Processing Abilities Persian Bilinguals Elahe Kamari (Corresponding author)Islamic Azad University Eyvan-e-Gharb Branchhangian Moallem 4 Alley, zip code: 6941963773, Iranl: 0842-3473224 E-mail: elahe.kamari4@gmail.comShahram Jamali Nesari University Eyvan-e-GharbBranch, zip code: 6941838788, Iran 09188412883 E-mail: Accepted:13-12-2013 URL:  d Univerity Eyvan-e-Gharb Branch.  licability of word association model to the second The aim of this study was to examine whether begi ords, or whether pictures representing pre-existing c al adults at the beginning stages of learning Persia uent in Kurdish. Participants in two groups performe s in two languages were translation equivalents. The pare the reaction times (RTs) of L1-L2 and picture-L faster in L1-L2 than in picture-L2 but the perfor 1-L2 and picture-L2, predicted by the word associ erent effects on the word processing abilities of biling anslation, word association model   the world today. It is estimated that there are appr ia & Ritchie, 2006: 19). Crystal (1997) estimated t red in a bilingual setting. Many of these individuals l eople are bilingual or even multilingual. These peopl eir native language and learn Persian as their secon ho learn their second language as adults in classroo can provide a clear picture of the structure of their m language to bilinguals. When discussing matters elationships, bilinguals use of first language as a me essing in second language directly and independent ts regarding the bilingual's mental representations. Fi languages or they have two distinct conceptual s units of language, investigating how and at what le ilinguals is of great importance.  d lexical systems  ualism. Weinreich (1953) identified three kinds of bi the bilingual brain: coexisting bilingualisms, merged Figure1.coexisting bilingualism   f Kurdish-  Published: 01-03-2014 v.3n.2p.138   language word processing ning L2 learners use their oncepts facilitate L2word n were compared with 10 d a translation-recognition y were also compared in a 2.The findings showed that ance of Persian-Kurdish tion model. These results uals.  oximately 5000 languages   hat more than half of the  earn their second language e are exposed to languages d language in classrooms. m setting. Investigation of  inds. Such studies can also such as second language diating tool to retrieve the of their first language, it is irst, do they have a shared stems for each language? vel lexical and conceptual lingualism in terms of how bilingualisms, subordinate   IJALEL3(2):138-144, 2014 139 Coexisting bilinguals learn each language in a distinct environment, and words of the two languages are storedseperatedly so that each word has its own particular meaning. Thus for   ﻞﺴﯿ (kisal) and   ﺖﺸ ﻻ (l ȃkpɔʃ  t), Kurdish-Persian bilinguals had two distinct representations. On the other hand, in merged bilingualism (see figure 2), twoconcepts are represented with a single representation.Figure2.mergedbilingualismIn subordinate bilinguals, the words in first language were directly translated into the second language concept (SeeFigure 3).Figure3.subordinate bilingualismFor example, for Kurdish-Persian bilinguals, /  ﻞﺴﯿ  / is directlytranslated into /  ﺖﺸ ﻻ  /. Weinreich (1953) did not considerthese classifications as mutually exclusive. According to him, a subordinate bilingual can become a merged bilingual.Later on, this classification was reformulated by Ervin and Osgood (1954) asa psychological model. In their model,coexisting bilingualism equals coordinate bilingualism and the merged bilingualism equals compound bilingualism. Incoordinate bilingualism, each language has its own distinct set of linguistic concepts and codes. Thus, Ervin andOsgood considered bilingual's mind to be consisting of two distinct structures. Therefore, this kind of bilingualismdevelops in situations where the bilingual learns to use each language in different environment (i.e., home vs. schoolenvironment). To sum up, coordinate bilingual's assign different meaning or partially different meanings to words intheir two languages (McLaughlin, 1984). They also indicated that in compound bilingualism there are two distinct setsof linguistic concepts foreach language which are associated with the same set of representational mediating processes.Therefore, compound bilinguals assign identical meanings to corresponding words and expressions in their twolanguages. Later on, Kolers (1963) reformulated compound bilingualism as the shared memory model and thecoordinate bilingualism as the separate memory model. According to shared-store hypothesis, there is one storagesystem for the two languages. On the other hand in the separate-store hypothesis there aretwo separate memory storagefor words in two languages. 1.2 The bilingual processing models 1.2.1 Word association Model and Concept association ModelRegarding the word's organizations in the memory of second language learners, two models were proposed by Potter,So, Von Eckardt, and Feldman (1984), the first of which was the word association model. This model assumes that thetwo lexical stores are associated and translation is performed at the lexical level (See Figure 4). This matched theintuition ofmany learners according to Potter et al. (1984). For example if a fluent English speaker translated a wordfrom L2 (English) to L1 (French) or the other way around; they would only retrieve the lexical form of the word, that isthe translation equivalent not the concept.  IJALEL3(2):138-144, 2014 140 Figure4.Word Association ModelThe concept mediation model, on the other hand, assumes that L2 words were not directly associated with L1 words.They shared one common conceptual memorystore which was the only connection between the two separate lexicalstores. (See Figure 5). For example, if an English speaking learner translated a word from L2 to L1 or the other wayaround, the lexical form activates its concept which subsequently activates the translation equivalents. Access to theconcept is therefore required in order to retrieve the translation equivalent (L1) and vice versa.Figure 5.The Concept Mediation Model 2. Literature Review In order to compare the predictions of the twomodels, Potter et al. (1984) compared the performance of a relativelyhigh and low proficient group on picture naming and translation in their second language. There is a general agreementin the literature that picture naming requires concept mediation,therefore translation should resemble picture namingonly if it is conceptually mediated. However, if translation can be lexically mediated, then translation should be fasterthan picture naming. Results showed that word translation took the same amount oftime as picture naming in L2, thus itis conceptually mediated. Therefore, they concluded that the Concept Mediation Model was the most accurate modelthat best characterized the bilingual lexicon of less and more proficient bilinguals, regardless of their level of L2fluency . Although Potter et al.’s (1984) experiments supported the concept mediation model, Kroll and Curley (1988), Chen and Leung (1989), Chen (1990), and Kroll and Stewart (1990) referred to the differences between high proficient and lowproficient bilinguals, they supported both the concept mediation model and the word association model. For example,Kroll and Curley (1988) compared two groups of bilinguals: a group of native English speakers at the beginning stagesof learning German anda group of high proficient English-German bilinguals on two tasks: a translation productiontask and a picture naming task. The first group's performance on Translation task supported the association model (Kroll& Sholl, 1992). That is, they performed L1 to L2 translations faster than L2 picture naming. Results from the highproficient bilinguals supported the concept mediation model. Their performance showed that Naming L2 pictures took less time than translating from L1 to L2 (Kroll & Sholl, 1992). Based on these results, Kroll and Stewart (1990, 1994)argued that Potter et al. (1984) did not find differences between their high and low proficient bilinguals since the lowproficient bilinguals were too advanced thus behaving more like high proficient bilinguals (See also Chen, 1990).Some studies provide evidence that there is a difference in lexical mediation between fluent and less-fluent bilinguals.Talamas, Kroll, and Dufour (1999) tested less and more proficient bilinguals on the translation recognition task.Subjects had to determine whether the two words presented were the correct translation equivalents or not (e.g. man-hombre [man]). The study also included distracters that were similar in form to the L2 words (e.g. man-hambre[hungry and similar in meaning (e.g., man-mujer [woman]). Results revealed that low proficient bilinguals were moredistracted by form related distracters than meaning related distracters; whilst more proficient learners were affected to agreater extent by meaning related distracters. The results confirmed that low proficient bilinguals were lexicallyoriented unlike more proficient learners who were mainly relying on conceptual links.Chen (1990), studies a group of native Chinese speaker in three experiments. Participants were asked to to do a readingtask, a translation production task and a picture naming task using their native and non-native languages. In the firstExperiment, four groups of bilinguals with various degrees of proficiency in their second language, English,participated. In second and third Experiments, before performing the tasks mentioned, participants first learned a set of French words using either Chinese words or pictures as media. When response was in Chinese, All participants had abetter performance in the reading task than in picture naming. When responding in the non-native language (English orFrench), high-learning participants performed equally efficient in translation and picture-naming tasks. However,relying on their learning strategies, Low-learning participants had a better performance in either the translation or thepicture-naming task. These results showed that both proficiency in a non-native language and the language acquisition  IJALEL3(2):138-144, 2014 141 strategy are main determinants for the pattern of lexical processing in that language. Together these studies indicatedthat the amount of exposure to the learned language as well as the learning strategy could be part of the contributors to  bilingual’s lexical processing. On the whole, these studies indic ated that low proficient bilinguals are more lexicallyoriented and high proficient bilinguals are more conceptually oriented. 3. The present study The researches mentioned above were mostly performed on fluent or less fluent bilinguals employing either groups withthe same native language background and different L2 proficiency or two groups with completely distinctive languages.The present study uses a quite different group of participants, native Kurdish-speaking adults in a beginning stage of learningPersian, to examine lexical processing and extent of applicability of the word association model (Potter et al,1984) and native Persian-speaking adults who were fluent in Kurdish. 3.1 Research Questions and Hypothesis The present study aims at answeringthe following questions:1. Are reaction times of picture-L2 translation longer than those of L1-L2 translation?For the Kurdish group, since they were beginning learners of Persian, the word association model predicts that reactiontimes of picture-L2 will be longer than that of L1-L2.2. Are L1-L2 response times shorter than those of picture-L2 response times?The word association model would also predict that L1-L2 character RTs is shorter than picture-L2 character RTs. 4. METHODS 4.1 Participants 10 Kurdish speaking male students at the beginning stage of learning Persian were compared with 10 native malespeakers of Persian who were fluent in Kurdish. The first group acquired Kurdish as their native language and used itfor everyday communicationin home. They were all students of Persian enrolled in Persian class at the LiteracyMovement classes in Eyvan-e-Gharb. Their Persian class was one hour a day, 3 days a week. They spoke Persian as asecond language in the classroom environment only for formal communication with Teachers. They were at the samelevel of proficiency. Participant's reading comprehension scores reported by their teacher have been taken as proficiencymeasure. Only those participants, whose median of reading comprehension scoreswas 14 or less were selected. Thesecond group were native in Persian and were fluent Kurdish speakers since they had been in Eyvan-e-Gharb for at least8 years. They used Kurdish in everyday communication. The selection of participants in this group was also based onthe median of their reading comprehension scores reported by their teacher. Students whose median of readingcomprehension scores was 19 or more were selected.Two tasks were used in this study: the first one was a bilingual translationrecognition task (De Groot, 1992 & Talamaset al., 1999) which was adapted to Kurdish and Persian languages.In this task, participants are presented with a word inone language and then the second word in another language, and they had to decide whether those words are the correcttranslation equivalent. One of the advantages associated with the translation recognition task used in this study was thatbecause the Kurdish participants were not fluent in Persian, they feel comfortable not to speak it aloud.The translation-recognition task avoids having them miss responses due to the unfamiliarity with L2 or the discomfort orembarrassment of speaking out loud. De Groot (1992) indicated that translation recognition bypasses the translation-retrieval process that occurs in translation production, and can eliminate the possible confusion of the locus of theobserved effects as opposed to translation production. The second task was a picture-recognition task. The aim of thistask was to compare the reaction times(RTs) of L1-L2 and pictures-L2. 4.2 Materials 4.2.1 StimuliThe test comprised 84 pairs, so that the first word or picture was presented as the stimulus and the second as the target.Pairs were divided to four blocks, so that there were 21 pairs in each block. These blocks were as follow:1) Kurdish-Kurdish, 2) pictures-Kurdish, 3) Kurdish-Persian, and 4) pictures-Persian. The presentation order of blocks wascounterbalanced across subjects. The pictures were line drawings and the Persian words were chosenfrom Persiantextbooks which were familiar to the students. All the words were of high frequency and relatively low difficulty. Allwords were concrete nouns. The selected Kurdish words had a mean length of 3.4 letters which ranged from 2 to 4letters. Theselected translation equivalents (Persian words) mean length was 3.6 letters whichrangedfrom 2 to 5letters.The test started with 12 practice pairs presented, including a combination of four conditions with 3 practice trials ineach conditions which were performed with completely different words than those in the real test. Therefore subjectshad four training sessions, the first was before performing Kurdish-Kurdish, the second was before pictures-Kurdish,the third one was before Kurdish-Persian and the fourth was before pictures-Persian.The presentation order of words within four sets was counter balanced across the subjects. In addition the presentationof words within each set was randomized. The stimuli were presented to participants using DELL monitors, operating at1366x768 resolutions, with a refresh frequency of 100Hz. In cm, the dimensions were 47cm horizontal, 30cm vertical,and the viewing distance was 60cm. The computers were DELL (2.4GHz processor, 4GB RAM, 320GB disk drive).  IJALEL3(2):138-144, 2014 142 The experiment was designed using E-Prime version v2.0.8.90 (Psychology Software Tools).4.2.2 DesignAll the participants went through a familiarization stage in which each of the critical stimuli was presented by a pictureand its Kurdish and Persian equivalents. Familiarizing the subjects with the items in the upcoming experiment ensuredthat these elementary learners would avoid missing too many responses, and ascertained that all subjects were at thesame baseline of picture recognition. This was another way to control for the frequency of the stimuli as well, given thatthe available vocabulary pool was not very large. The testing stimuli and the trial stimuli were different in order to avoidthe potential effects of long-term priming or psychological training association.4.2.3 Experimental proceduresParticipants were placed in front of a computer at a viewing distance of 60cm in a sound proof lab. They were testedindividually and were requested to perform a bilingual word translation task. They had to translate words from Kurdish-Kurdish, 2) pictures-Kurdish, 3) Kurdish-Persian, and 4) pictures-Persian. The experimenter was not present whensubjects start the test.The test started initially when the first word or picture appeared on the screen for one secondfollowed by a fixationpoint, a plus sign for one second and a then by a second word for a maximum of five seconds. The participants wereinstructed to make a decision as to whether or not the second word presented was the correct translation equivalent of the first word or picture. Participants were also requested to respond as fast as possible. The computer recordedresponse latencies automatically. Response latencies were measured from the onset of the next trial until the participantpushed the yes/no button on the computer. 5. Results 5.1 Reaction Times Table 1 shows the accuracy of both groups in the four blocks. A three-factor analysis of variance (ANOVA) wasperformed on mean percent accuracy to the target word with two within group factors, type ofcritical stimuli ( Kurdishand pictures) and type of target word (Kurdish and Persian) and one between-group factor, Proficiency (Kurdish-Persian). The analysis showed that for the Kurdish group, the only significant contrast was the target languagedifference: L1-L1 and picture-L1 had a higher percent accuracy (M=97.9 %) than L1-L2 and picture-L2 (M=87.6 %),[F (1, 52) =13.3, p<.001]. For the Persian group, one significant difference occurred when the stimuli type was L2,Kurdish, with a higher accuracy ofL2-L1 (M=97.5 %) than L2-L2 (M=87.8 %), [F (1, 40) =24.8, p<.001].Table1.the Accuracy of Response in the four conditionsPersian group (n=10)AccuracyKurdish group(n=10)AccuracyKurdish-Kurdish87.897.9Picture-Kurdish98.597.9Kurdish-Persian97.590.8Picture-Persian98.584.4 5.2 Latencies A three-factor ANOVA analysis was performed on the mean correct response latencies to the target word, with onebetween-group factor, native language (Kurdish and Persian), and two within-group factors, type of critical stimuli(Kurdish and pictures) and type of target word (Kurdish and Persian). The mean response times for the four blocks of the two groups are represented in Table 2.Table2.Mean response latencies (in ms) of the Kurdish group and the Persian group in the four conditions.Persian group (n=10)LatenciesKurdish group (n=10)LatenciesKurdish-Kurdish1231898Picture-Kurdish815745Kurdish-Persian8521403Picture-Persian8531739
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