Georgetown University Medical Center
When Processing Meets Theory: A general strategy for building code-switching expressions
The bilingual’s ability to compose words and phrases from different languages has drawn attention from neuroscientists, psychologists, and linguists. While some argue that this ability to switch languages requires enhanced cognitive functions, it is unclear how domain general mechanisms interact with language processing mechanisms. Two studies investigating how bilinguals compose code-switching expressions will be presented to demonstrate that switching languages does not incur cognitive costs during syntactic/semantic processing. Instead, bilinguals seem to implement a general strategy for composing both single- and mixed-language expressions that may be best understood through bridging processing models and linguistic theory. This work challenges the idea that bilinguals require enhanced executive functions for processing code-switches as well as theories that require sensitivity to language during composition.