Young bilingual infants' ability of linking familiar languages to novel interlocutors

Molnar, M. & Carreiras, M.

Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language, (BCBL), Donostia, SPAIN

Bilingual adults are able to associate languages with different interlocutors with ease, however the onset of this ability during bilingual acquisition is unknown. In the current study, using a behavioral preference looking paradigm, we tested 8-month-old Basque-Spanish bilingual infants' ability of linking novel interlocutors to the two different languages. First, we familiarized the infants via video segments with two interlocutors speaking Basque, and two other interlocutors speaking Spanish. Then, in the test phase, we presented one Basque and one Spanish interlocutor to the infants in either a match condition (the interlocutor spoke the same language as she did during the familiarization) or in a mismatch condition (the interlocutor spoke a different languages in the test phase and in the familiarization phase). Within one week of this testing session, infants were tested a second time using the same match-mismatch paradigm (without the familiarization phase). However, this time the two other (previously untested) interlocutors were presented to the infants only. Results from the first and the second testing sessions will be discussed in relation to bilingual first language acquisition.