[PS-2.32] Facilitation and interference effects in cognate retrieval and production: Multiple selection mechanisms and multiple loci of selection

Muscalu, L. 1 & Smiley, P. . 2

1 Cornell University
2 Pomona College

Cognate facilitation and cognate interference in bilingual word production have been elicited separately in different experimental paradigms. However, a situation that captures facilitation as well as interference in the same experimental paradigm and during the same retrieval attempt has not been investigated. In a written translation experiment, bilinguals (n = 24) translated cognates and noncognates from less dominant English to dominant Romanian and typed the translations. Latencies to retrieve and type the first letter of the word (lexical latencies) and latencies to retrieve and type the complete sequence of orthographic segments (orthographic latencies) were recorded. Lexical latencies were shorter for cognates than for noncognates but orthographic latencies were longer for cognates than for noncognates. Facilitation at the onset of response followed by interference during orthographic execution of cognates suggests a language selection mechanism that operated efficiently at the lexical level but then weakened at the sublexical level, due to cross-language sublexical overlap that can both assist and impede retrieval and production of cognates. Thus, language selection at one level may not guarantee language selectivity at subsequent levels. This phenomenon can be accommodated by a model of bilingual language production that allows for multiple selection mechanisms and multiple loci of selection.