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Title: Linguistic relativity in motion events in Spanish and English : a study on monolingual and bilingual children and adults
Authors: Aveledo, Fraibet Elena
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: The research investigates the relation between language and cognition, focusing specifically on dynamic motion events (MEs) of path, manner and causation. This dissertation studies differences in lexicalization patterns of MEs in monolingual and bilingual adults, children, and adolescents, speakers of English and Spanish, and the possible effect of language patterns of MEs on cognition (i.e. the linguistic relativity hypothesis).The study additionally seeks to determine developmental aspects of MEs in language and cognition and to measure the impact of speaking an additional language on linguistic and cognitive processing. Participants´ linguistics patterns and cognitive performances are assessed with two experiments: i) a verbal description task of videos and ii) a similarity judgment task that measured categorization preferences. In total, participants are 124 adults and 221 children and adolescents. The research reveals that adults´ performance is different from that of children in both tasks. It also confirms that MEs are conveyed differently in monolingual and bilingual speakers of English and Spanish. Most importantly it shows that categorization of MEs is constrained by the language-specific patterns in adults in the adult population. Additionally, the knowledge of a second language in adults influences language performance: A bidirectional cross-linguistic influence from L2 to L1 and L1 to L2 is observed. The study of lexicalization patterns in children reveals developmental changes that suggest that learning motion events patterns in one’s language takes longer than previously reported. The performance of monolingual and bilingual children and adolescents does not yield effect of language on the categorization of MEs. This research is a contribution to the studies of linguistic relativity. It helps to explain the contradictory results in the area. It reveals that language seems to affect other non-linguistic cognitive processes and support the hypothesis that language may be interconnected to other cognitive functions in monolinguals´ and bilinguals´ brain. Furthermore, it contributed to the studies of language acquisition in L1 and L2 by assessing bilingual adults and children in their encoding of motion events and its relation to cognition.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

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