Journal of Memory and Journal of Memory and Language 52 (2005) 240–255

The influence of initial exposure on lexical representation: Comparing early and simultaneous bilinguals

Nu´ria Sebastia´n-Galle´s*, Sagrario Echeverrı´a, Laura Bosch

Cognitive Neuroscience Group, Parc Cientı´fic UB-Hospital Sant Joan de De´u, Edifici Docent, c/ Sta. Rosa, 39-57 4a planta, 08950 Esplugues, Barcelona,

Received 8 March 2004; revision received 3 November 2004


The representation of L2 words and non-words was analysed in a series of three experiments. Catalan-Spanish bilinguals, differing in terms of their L1 and the age of exposure to their L2 (since birth—simultaneous bilinguals— or starting in early childhood—early sequential bilinguals), were asked to perform a lexical decision task on Catalan words and non-words. The non-words were based on real words, but with one vowel changed: critically, this vowel change could involve a Catalan contrast that Spanish natives find difficult to perceive. The results confirmed previous data indicating that in spite of early, intensive exposure, Spanish-Catalan bilinguals fail to perceive certain Catalan contrasts, and that this failure has consequences at the lexical level. Further, the results from simultaneous bilinguals show: (a) that even in the case of bilinguals who are exposed to both from birth, a dominant language prevails; and (b) that simultaneous bilinguals do not attain the same level of proficiency as early bilinguals in their first language. Ó 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Speech perception; Bilingualism; Spanish; Catalan; Vowel perception; Early exposure; Sensitive period;

How early must an individual learn a second lan- longer assume that there is a more or less sudden end guage to attain native performance? Popular wisdom to an individualÕs ability to master a second language, has it that puberty is the upper limit for ‘‘perfect’’ sec- but hold that the loss of the acquisition capacity is pro- ond language acquisition. This assumption received sup- gressive (Bialystok & Hakuta, 1999; Birdsong, 1992, port from early models of language development. 1999, in press; Birdsong & Molis, 2001; Bongaerts, Lenneberg (1967) formulated the critical period hypoth- 1999; DeKeyser & Larsen-Hall, in press; Flege, 2003; esis which held that language could be learned through Flege & Hillenbrandt, 1984; Flege, Yeni-Komshian, & some biologically determined mechanisms within a spe- Liu, 1999; Hyltenstam & Abrahamsson, 2000; Johnson cific time window. Outside this window, learning was & Newport, 1989, 1991; Marler, 1991; Mayberry, only possible through the use of other (non-specific) 1993; Mayberry & Eichen, 1991; Newport, 1990, 1991, mechanisms. More recent approaches to this issue no 2002; Sebastia´n-Galle´s & Soto-Faraco, 1999; Seliger, 1978; Ullman, 2001). Furthermore, the difficulties in * Corresponding author. Fax: +34 93 600 97 70. attaining native-level performance are not related solely E-mail address: [email protected] (N. Sebastia´n-Galle´s). to individual differences such as age of acquisition or

0749-596X/$ - see front matter Ó 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2004.11.001 N. Sebastia´n-Galle´s et al. / Journal of Memory and Language 52 (2005) 240–255 241 amount of exposure. It seems that certain aspects of the shown that in the second half of the first year of life in- language system (such as vocabulary) can be learned at fants shape the phonetic categories of their L1 (a devel- any age, while other aspects (such as the use of preposi- opment that will continue during childhood). Kuhl and tions and syntax) remain particularly difficult (Neville & coworkers (Kuhl, 1991; Kuhl, Williams, Lacerda, Ste- Bavelier, 2000; Neville, Mills, & Lawson, 1992; Weber- vens, & Lindblom, 1992) found that before six months Fox & Neville, 1994, 1999). of age infants do not show the ‘‘perceptual magnet ef- One domain that seems particularly difficult to mas- fect,’’ that is, the difficulty that adults experience in per- ter in an L2 is the phonological system (Bosch, 2000; ceiving small acoustic differences close to the prototypes Flege & MacKay, 1999; Sebastia´n-Galle´s & Soto-Far- of the phonemes of their native language. This difficulty aco, 1999). The difficulties are found in both the produc- is specific to the vowels of the maternal language, and is tion and the perception domains. Many bilinguals are not observed for vowels of other languages. At about six ‘‘given away’’ by their foreign accent and they also tend months, infants show a pattern that closely resembles to experience difficulty in perceiving particular non-na- the adult one. Bosch and Sebastia´n-Galle´s (2003) stud- tive sounds. Most studies of these issues have analysed ied the developmental pattern of monolingual Catalan competence in the second language in relation to vari- infants, monolingual Spanish infants and bilingual ables such as age of acquisition, age of arrival in the for- Spanish–Catalan infants in the perception of the Cata- eign country, etc. (for a review see Birdsong, in press). In lan-specific/e-e/contrast. As expected, at four and a half general, the predominant view is that adults can acquire, months, all infants were able to discriminate between with different degrees of success, even the most difficult different tokens of disyllabic stimuli that differed only foreign contrasts, as long as appropriate input is pro- in terms of these two contrastive Catalan vowels. Also vided (Flege, 2003; Iverson et al., 2003; McCandliss, as expected, by eight months Spanish monolingual in- Fiez, Protopapas, Conway, & McClelland, 2002). On fants did not show any sensitivity to the contrast, while this view, since auditory processing would be unaffected Catalan monolingual infants still showed it. Interest- by language exposure, it should be possible, at least the- ingly, bilingual Spanish–Catalan infants no longer oretically, to acquire any foreign contrast at any mo- showed any discriminative behaviour at this age (regard- ment in life. According to Flege (2003) ‘‘the capacities less of the language of the mother). By 12 months, underlying successful L1 speech acquisition remain in- bilingual infants had ‘‘regained’’ their capacity to dis- tact across the life span. These capacities include the criminate the contrast. This differential pattern between ability to accurately perceive featural patterns in speech monolingual and bilingual infants shows that the two input.’’ (p. 327) In this context, the difficulties experi- populations have their own processes of category acqui- enced by adult learners are caused by L1 interference ef- sition. Bosch and Sebastia´n-Galle´s (2003) argued that fects and not from normal neural maturation. In fact, as the recovery of the discrimination behavior in bilingual Iverson et al. (2003) suggest, L1 interference effects infants at 12 months was related to their need to repre- would become progressively stronger as L1 develops; sent words in the lexicon in the proper way. It remains to that is, the earlier L2 is acquired, the less the effects of be explored if this particular process of maternal lan- the L1 will be observed because L1 categories would guage category development has any consequences in not be yet fully established. In this way, age of acquisi- the long-term as regards the representation of the sound tion effects would be just an epiphenomenon of how system in simultaneous bilingual adults. The main goal L1 interference develops in time. of the present series of experiments is to explore the Hardly, any of the empirical data addressing the issue speech perceptual capacities of simultaneous bilinguals of age of acquisition and its consequences in speech per- by analysing how words are represented in their mental ception mechanisms have analysed simultaneous biling- lexicon. uals, that is, individuals who, from the very first day of As mentioned above, research in second language their lives, have been exposed to two languages and have speech perception indicates that (non-simultaneous) bil- used them continuously. Due to this exposure from birth inguals have difficulty in perceiving some non-native to both languages, the study of this population repre- contrasts. Several models have been put forward to ex- sents one of the endpoints in the age of acquisition-L1 plain why some segmental contrasts not present in the interference continuum. Although the literature on first language are easier to perceive in the second lan- adults is scarce, some developmental data are available guage than others (Best, 1995; Flege, 1995, 2003). The that suggest that the early setting of phonetic categories fact that bilinguals experience perceptual difficulties for in (simultaneous) bilingual infants does not follow the some L2 sounds could mean that their lexical represen- same path as that of monolingual infants (Bosch & Se- tations may not include as much detailed information bastia´n-Galle´s, 2003; Burns, Werker, & McVie, 2002). as the processing and representation of words in the first As early speech development studies reveal, the first language. Our previous research has shown that Span- months of life play an important role in the establish- ish-dominant bilinguals, in spite of a high degree of lin- ment of the native language categories. Research has guistic competence, have difficulty in perceiving some 242 N. Sebastia´n-Galle´s et al. / Journal of Memory and Language 52 (2005) 240–255

Catalan contrasts, absent in Spanish (Bosch, Costa, & structed, in Russian, to pick up the stamp (‘‘marku’’ in Sebastian-Galle´s, 2000; Pallier, Bosch, & Sebastia´n, Russian), one of the distractors was a marker. The results 1997a; Pallier, Colome´, & Sebastia´n-Galle´s, 2001; Sebas- showed that bilinguals glanced more often at the interlin- tia´n-Galle´s & Soto-Faraco, 1999). Specifically, Sebas- gual distractor than at a control object bearing no pho- tia´n-Galle´s and Soto-Faraco (1999) compared the netic relationship to either the target word or its performance of highly competent Spanish–Catalan bil- translation. The authors concluded that in spite of being inguals in an adaptation of the gating task. Two popu- in a totally monolingual mode (the whole experimental lations were studied: bilinguals who learned only session was conducted in only one language), bilinguals Catalan during the first years of their life (Catalan– activate both auditory . Weber (2002, Weber & Spanish), and bilinguals who learned only Spanish in Cutler, 2004) used a procedure similar to Spivey and this period (Spanish–Catalan). The bilinguals in the lat- MarianÕs and obtained equivalent results with late ter group were selected so that they did not significantly Dutch–English bilinguals. In these experiments a very differ from the Catalan–Spanish population in their per- similar procedure was used to explore whether non-na- formance at the last gate, but, even so, they needed a sig- tives were as restrictive as natives in using fine phonetic nificantly longer fragment of the stimulus (more gates) information to access words in their non-dominant lan- to identify the correct answer (for converging evidence guage. In one of their experiments, the target object using the gating task, see Grosjean, 1988 and Schulpen, and one of the competitors differed in a vowel pair which Dijstra, Schriefers, & Hasper, 2003). is usually difficult for Dutch listeners to perceive, such as Recently, it has been shown that these difficulties also the initial vowels in the words ‘‘paddle’’ and ’’pedal.’’ In extend to the lexicon (Pallier et al., 2001). In that study, this case, after listening to ‘‘Click on the pa...’’ the num- Spanish–Catalan bilinguals were asked to perform a lexi- ber of glances at each object was equivalent, indicating cal decision task. The repetition priming effects between that the vowel mismatch was not enough to rule out words presenting minimal differences in contrasts existing the distractor object. Crucially, English natives glanced either in both languages or in Catalan alone were com- significantly more at the target object. pared. The authors took advantage of the fact that lexical The experiments of Pallier et al. (2001) and Weber and decision times are faster on a repeated word trial than on Cutler (2004) show that because of their insufficiently pre- the first presentation. They observed that Spanish–Cata- cise phonetic discrimination ability, bilinguals activate the lan participants (L1 Spanish, and unlikely to perceive cer- L2 lexicon in a less restrictive way than native listeners. tain Catalan contrasts) considered the occurrence of the This means that, provided bilinguals are highly skilled second member of a Catalan-specific minimal pair equiv- and thus have comparable lexicon sizes to monolinguals, alent to an exact repetition of the first item; that is, the for any given input sequence the chances are that the num- reaction times to a word uttered for the second time in ber of potential lexical candidates will be higher, and, the list (reaction times to the second occurrence of [netE] accordingly, one should expect delayed recognition for in a list) were equivalent to the reaction times when the non-native words because of the existence of more com- word had been preceded by its minimal pair (in this case petitors (or homophones) for the second language. While [netE] preceded by [netE] in the same list). However, Cat- Weber et al. concluded from their data that this less effi- alan–Spanish bilinguals whose maternal language was cient lexical selection for L2 did indeed exist, the results Catalan and who could perceive these contrasts did not of Pallier et al. indicated that there were no differences show the repetition effect for these pairs. None of the bil- in the lexical decision times between Spanish–Catalan inguals showed repetition priming for minimal pairs of and Catalan–Spanish bilinguals; the populations differed

words containing phonemes existing in both languages: in the amount of repetition effects for Catalan-specific

c [p t]-[bc t]. These results suggest that Spanish–Catalan bil- minimal pairs, but not in terms of the average reaction inguals treat Catalan-specific minimal pairs as homo- times. This difference is probably due to the fact that the phones, but Catalan–Spanish bilinguals do not. bilinguals that participated in the studies were not equiv- Another methodological approach has been used to alent: both populations differed in the age of acquisition address questions about the lexical representation and and context of acquisition. Therefore, it is difficult to di- activation of non-native words. Spivey and Marian rectly compare the results of the two studies. Finally, some (1999) analysed auditory lexical access in (late) Rus- recent data seem to restrict the scope of the non-selectivity sian–English bilinguals. In this study, eye movements and non-specificity of bilingual lexical access in speech were recorded while participants were simultaneously perception. Using the eye-movement paradigm Ju and presented with four objects. Participants were auditorily Luce (2004) observed that the difficulties with L2 words asked to pick up one of the objects (the target) and place in highly skilled bilinguals can be restricted to words it at a specific location. In one condition, one of the dis- including difficult-to-categorize L2 phonemes. tractor (non-target) objects had a translation that shared As we said above, the main goal of the present research initial phonetic features with the target word (the inter- is to study the processing of phonetic categories in lingual distractor); for instance, if participants were in- simultaneous bilinguals. According to the interference N. Sebastia´n-Galle´s et al. / Journal of Memory and Language 52 (2005) 240–255 243 hypothesis, these bilinguals are expected either not to dif- edge of the Catalan words. In this respect, we do not fer from natives or to show only very small differences. In expect to find any difference between the two popula- this context, a task showing a clear difference between tions in their capacity to discriminate between words early, but not simultaneous Catalan–Spanish and Span- and their mispronunciations when they involve contrasts ish–Catalan bilinguals is needed. Otherwise, the potential common to both languages. lack of differences between Catalan–Spanish and simulta- neous bilinguals could be attributable to a lack of method- Method ological power. The aim of our first two experiments, then, is to introduce an approach that is able to distinguish Participants between the performance of the two populations of Cata- Eighty Spanish–Catalan and Catalan–Spanish early lan–Spanish and Spanish–Catalan bilinguals. This meth- bilinguals participated in this experiment. All of them odology should also provide converging evidence about had been born in Catalonia (most of them in Barcelona the consequences at the level of the lexicon of failing to or its metropolitan area). Half were raised as Spanish make this discrimination in early bilinguals. monolinguals until the age of four at the latest (when In previous studies (see for reviews Sebastia´n-Galle´s, mandatory schooling started). During the first years of in press and Sebastia´n-Galle´s & Bosch, in press) we have their lives, contact with Catalan was occasional. The observed that vowel discrimination is an appropriate other half of the bilinguals was selected according to context in which to address the present goals. Catalan the reverse criterion, that is, with Catalan as their home is a language with eight vowels; Spanish has only five. language.1 All participants had received bilingual educa- As prior research has shown, some Catalan-specific con- tion and claimed to be very fluent in the two languages, trasts (like /e/-/e/) are particularly difficult for Spanish in both listening and reading. Furthermore, all partici- natives to properly perceive. If Spanish-dominant biling- pants had passed the mandatory examination to enter uals store Catalan words containing either /e/ or /e/asa Spanish Universities in Catalonia, that all par- single category, they will have great difficulty in discrim- ticipants had proven their proficiency not only in oral inating between real words and non-words made by and written skills, but also in their formal knowledge exchanging these vowels. For example, the Catalan word of both Catalan and Spanish , morphology for ‘‘window’’ is ‘‘finestra’’ pronounced [finestE]. If these and syntax (the requirements are the same as those that bilinguals do not perceive the contrast /e-e/, and their monolingual Spanish students have to meet in Spanish lexical representations do not distinguish between the to gain admission to any Spanish University). Only par- two, they will find it difficult to decide whether [finestE] ticipants who reported that their current dominant lan- or *[finestE] is the real word. However, they should not guage was the language learned at home participated find it difficult when the vowel change involves vowels in this experiment. At the moment of testing, they were

used in Spanish, as in the Catalan word for ‘‘skirt’’ all undergraduate Psychology students at the University

y [fElði Ey ] when transformed into the non-word *[fElðo E]. of Barcelona, where most of the lectures are given in Catalan (according to official statistics, about 60%). Par- ticipants were also asked to rate their knowledge of for- Experiment 1 eign languages. In this experiment, all participants reported having learned English as a foreign language. The main goal of this experiment is to establish an They rated their knowledge of written English on a experimental situation that can be used with the popula- ten-point scale. The averages for Spanish-Catalan and tion of simultaneous bilinguals to analyse their speech Catalan-Spanish bilinguals were 6.7 and 6.6, respec- processing capacities. To do so, two groups of early tively, (the averages for comprehending spoken English Spanish–Catalan and Catalan–Spanish bilinguals will were 4.5 and 4.7, respectively). Some participants be studied. We expect to find significant differences be- reported some knowledge of other languages tween early Spanish–Catalan and early Catalan–Spanish (French—8–Italian—3–German—2). None of the par- bilinguals. As we have just said, the perceptual difficul- ticipants reported any hearing problems. They partici- ties previously observed in early Spanish–Catalan biling- pated in the experiment in exchange for course credits. uals are likely to impede these subjectsÕ attempts to discriminate between proper words and their mispro- 1 nunciations when the only difference between them is a Spanish and Catalan are commonly used in Barcelona. The languages have co-official status. Of the four public TV difficult-to-perceive contrast. As it is their lexical knowl- channels, two broadcast mostly in Spanish and the other two edge that is being explored, it is of great importance to mostly in Catalan. So families have the choice of living in a show that these bilinguals, apart from their difficulty predominantly monolingual environment, in which contact with some foreign contrasts, have a lexical knowledge with the other language is occasional. Education, on the other that is comparable to that of natives; otherwise, the po- hand, is to a large extent bilingual. There is no particular tential difficulty could be attributed to a lack of knowl- privilege in social status for any of the two languages. 244 N. Sebastia´n-Galle´s et al. / Journal of Memory and Language 52 (2005) 240–255

Materials For instance, the Catalan word ‘‘convent’’ is cognate Sixty-six Catalan words containing the vowel /e/ and with the Spanish word ‘‘convento,’’ but their pronunci- sixty-six Catalan words containing the vowel /e/ were se- ation differs: [kumben] in Catalan and [kombento] in lected (experimental words). Because of recording prob- Spanish. Even some cases in which the number of pho- lems, two words from the e-set were discarded. Words nemes and orthography is the same in both languages, varied in length (from one to four syllables). The two sets such as the word ‘‘portera’’ (meaning ‘‘concierge’’ were matched in word frequency (average tokens per mil- fem.) the pronunciation is different: [purteE] in Catalan lion for e-words: 722.27, SD 1281.77; for e-words, aver- and [portea] in Spanish. So, bearing this in mind and age: 662.19, SD 1270.83, t test <1; Rafel i Fontanals, even accepting some potential perceptual assimilations 1998). The corresponding non-words were created by made by Spanish speakers (for example, perceiving Cat- replacing the vowel /e/ with /e/ and vice versa in each alan /E/ as /a/) there were only 6 e-words and 3 e-words

of the words. Thus, the word ‘‘galleda’’ (meaning ‘‘buck- that could be said to sound the same in both languages

et’’), pronounced [gE ey ðE], generated the non-word in the experimental stimuli.

*[gE ey ðE] and the word ‘‘ulleres’’ (meaning ‘‘glasses’’), Forty control words were selected. These words also

y pronounced [u ey Es], generated the non-word *[u eEs]. varied in length between one and four syllables and were The former were called ‘‘e-type’’ stimuli and the latter matched for frequency with the experimental items ‘‘e-type’’ stimuli. Because Catalan features vowel reduc- (average = 378.69, SD 649.81, t test p < .14). Thirty-five tion, /e/ and /e/ can only occur in stressed positions, so non-words were created from words that were similar to these changes were restricted to stressed syllables. the controls (though not exactly the same), produced by To determine the cognate status of the stimuli, fol- replacing their stressed vowel. These changes never

lowing the procedure described in Kroll and Stewart involved vowels /e/ or /e/. For example, the word


(1994) a group of 10 monolingual Spanish natives from ‘‘llenc¸ol’’ (meaning ‘‘sheet’’—bed), pronounced [ Ey ns l] the Canary Islands were presented with the experimental had its stressed vowel changed to make *[ Ey nsal]. Two words and asked to guess the corresponding Spanish lists were generated, so that one member of each exper- word. Stimuli were considered to be non-cognates if 6 imental word/non-word pair appeared in each list. Con- out of the 10 subjects did not guess the Spanish word. trol stimuli were the same for all participants. This procedure yielded a total of 52 non-cognates (23 Stimuli were recorded by a male native speaker of e-words and 29 e-words) and 78 cognates (43 e-words Catalan, digitalized and down-sampled to 16 KHz. All and 35 e-words). There were no significant differences stimuli were recorded in a single session. Stimuli were in frequency between cognates and non-cognates edited with Cool Edit Ó and individual stimulus files (p > .16). A v2 test showed that there were no statistical were created for each word. No silences were left at differences in the distribution of cognates and non-cog- the beginning or end of each file. nates across each stimulus type (v2 = 1.482, ns). Fur- thermore, because of the phonological features of the Procedure two languages (in particular, vowel reduction in Cata- Participants were tested in individual sound-attenu- lan) cognates in both languages sounded quite different.2 ated booths, seated in front of a computer screen where instructions were displayed. They were asked to press a button labelled ‘‘yes’’ immediately on hearing a word 2 Three factors can be advocated here making significant stimulus and a button labelled ‘‘no’’ on hearing a non- changes between Catalan and Spanish pronunciations. The first word. In the instructions they were specifically warned

one refers to vowel changes. Catalan has eight vowels. c that the stimuli would be very similar to words, and Vowels /a/, /e/, /e/, /i/, /o/, / / and /u/ appear in stressed positions. In unstressed positions only three vowels are found: had been made by changing a single vowel; participants

/i/, /u/ and schwa. /e/, /e/ and /a/ when in unstressed position were told that, in many cases, the change would involve are realized like schwa. /o/ and / /c when unstressed, are the replacement of a sound /e/ by a sound /e/ and vice pronounced like /u/. The second factor refers to the differences versa. Feed-back was provided during the training in the repertoire of consonants. For instance, Spanish has no phase, in which some words and non-words containing voiced fricatives, but it has several unvoiced ones appearing in the /e-e/ exchange were included. Each trial started with Spanish, and not in Catalan: /h/, /x/. Catalan has both voiced an asterisk (fixation point) displayed for 300 ms in the and unvoiced fricatives, some of the unvoiced ones only centre of the computer screen. Immediately, after appearing in this language: /ò/. Finally, Catalan, like French, the asterisk offset, the stimulus was played binaurally. historically went through a process of final-word shortening; The onset of the auditory stimulus triggered the timing while Spanish has a preponderance of trisyllabic words and few monosyllabic words, most Catalan words are disyllabic and mechanism. The asterisk reappeared to start the next many are monosyllabic. This process can be seen in words like trial 750 ms after the subject had answered. Subjects ‘‘ma’’ (Cat)—‘‘mano’’ (Sp) meaning ‘‘hand’’ or ‘‘anell’’ (Cat)— had a 3500 ms response deadline; if they had not ‘‘anillo’’ (Sp) meaning ‘‘ring’’ (or to see an even more extreme answered within this time, the asterisk appeared indicat- case ‘‘cap’’ (Cat)—‘‘cabeza’’ (Sp) meaning ‘‘head’’). ing the onset of the following trial. The order of N. Sebastia´n-Galle´s et al. / Journal of Memory and Language 52 (2005) 240–255 245 presentation was fully randomized for each subject. Par- Table 1 ticipants were encouraged to respond as quickly as pos- Mean A0 for each group of bilingual population and each sible and to keep their response fingers over the response stimuli type (standard deviation in parentheses) buttons. Half of the participants were tested with one of e-type e-type Control the lists and the other half with the other. Early Catalan .874 (.058) .953 (.046) .974 (.013) The presentation of the stimuli was controlled by per- dominant bilinguals sonal computers, equipped with Pro-Audio 16 sound Early Spanish .684 (.103) .687 (.116) .967 (.014) cards. Auditory stimuli were presented through Sennhe- dominant bilinguals iser HMD224x headphones. The experimental situation Simultaneous bilinguals .798 (.112) .813 (.147) .984 (.015) was controlled by the program EXPE (Pallier, Dupoux, & Jeannin, 1997b). Reaction times were measured from yses showed a significant effect of type of bilinguals stimulus onset. (F1(1,78) = 201.051, p < .0001, F2(1,167) = 389.498, p < .0001) and a significant effect of stimulus type Results (F1(2,156) = 206.458, p < .0001, F2(2,167) = 156.781, Error rates for the experimental stimuli (e-type and e- p < .0001). The interaction of these two factors was also type ones) were very high, particularly for participants significant in both analyses (F1(2,156) = 89.650, with Spanish as their first language (see Fig. 1). In fact, p < .0001, F2(2,167) = 72.7, p < .0001). A t test compar- these participants showed a functional breakdown in the ison of means showed that the groups differed in the con- capacity to discriminate experimental words and non- trol stimuli (t1(78) = 2.449, p < .02, t2(39) = 5.096, words. Indeed, they showed a strong bias to consider p < .0001), Catalan-dominant bilinguals performing bet- most experimental non-words as real words. Because ter than Spanish-dominant ones (.974 vs. .967, respec- of this high error rate and bias, it was decided to carry tively). Other ANOVAs restricted to the two out the accuracy analyses using the A0 statistic for both experimental conditions were also performed. In these test and control items. Each subjectÕs performance was analyses, the type of bilingual factor was also significant converted to an A0 score, which is a non-parametric (F1(1,78) = 203.438, p < .0001, F2(1,128) = 513.528, unbiased index of sensitivity with 0.5 corresponding to p < .0001), as well as the stimulus type (F1(1,78) = chance performance and 1.0 to perfect discrimination 14.530, p < .0001, F2(1,128) = 17.110, p < .0001). The (McNichol, 1972). Reaction times were only analysed interaction between the two factors was also significant for the control stimuli (for which both populations (F1(1,78) = 12.318, p < .001, F2(1,128) = 5.673, p < showed very low error rates). .02). T test comparisons between the two populations were carried out for each stimulus type. For both types Error analyses of stimulus, Catalan-dominant bilinguals performed bet- Table 1 shows the average A0 statistic for each bilin- ter than Spanish-dominant ones; for the e-type stimuli gual group. Separate ANOVAs by subjects and by items (.874 vs. .684, respectively; t1(78) = 10.219, p < .0001, were performed for the three categories of stimuli with t2(65) = 13.495, p < .0001), for the e-type stimuli (.953 type of bilingual as a between subjects variable. The anal- vs. .687, respectively; t1(78) = 13.420, p < .0001, t2(63) = 19.076, p < .0001). Contrasting results were also found between the pop- ulations for types of experimental stimuli (e- and e-stim- uli). The difference was significant for Catalan-dominant bilinguals (t1(39) = 11.309 and t2(128) = t2(128) = 6.382, p < .0001), but not for Spanish-dominant ones (t1 < 1 and t2(128) = 1.389, p < .167).3

Reaction time analyses A group of analyses was performed to explore the differences between the groups of bilinguals in their knowledge of Catalan. As mentioned above, this was

3 The potential contribution of the cognate status of the stimuli was systematically explored. Two ANOVAs, by items and by subjects with bilingual group, stimulus type (e-type/e- type) and cognateness (cognate/non-cognate) were carried out. No main effect or interaction involving the cognate status of the Fig. 1. Average correct responses (percentages) in Experiment words approached significance; the average values for cognates 1 for each stimulus type and bilingual group. and non-cognates were .812 and .807, respectively. 246 N. Sebastia´n-Galle´s et al. / Journal of Memory and Language 52 (2005) 240–255 done by analysing their performances in the control the two populations were tested cannot be considered stimuli. Reaction times above 3000 ms and below fully equivalent. In most of the trials (and it has to be 200 ms (which together represented less than 4% of all remembered that the instructions gave participants data) were discarded. Two ANOVAs, one by subjects prior warning) Spanish–dominant bilinguals were asked and one by items, were carried out on the reaction times to distinguish between Catalan sounds that are particu- of the control condition. The analyses showed larly difficult for them, and so it is not surprising that that words were responded to faster than non-words; they were more cautious when making their decisions F1(1,78) = 174.73, p < .0001 and F2(1,73) = 40.43, and that their responses in all conditions were slower. p < .0001 (words = 1004 ms, non-words = 1160 ms). Furthermore, because of their false recognition of Differences between Catalan- and Spanish-dominant bil- experimental non-words as words, the percentage of inguals did not reach significance in the subject analysis ‘‘no’’ responses was much lower for Spanish–Catalan (F1(1,78) = 2.458, p > .12), but they were significant in bilinguals than for Catalan–Spanish ones. This may the item analysis (F2(1,73) = 70.203, p < .0001) (Cata- have influenced their general criteria for giving a posi- lan = 1055 ms, Spanish = 1108 ms). tive or a negative response, a bias that may also have The interaction of these two factors was significant in influenced their responses to the control stimuli. If these both analyses (F1(1,78) = 4.131, p < .045 and are the reasons for the differences observed between the F2(1,73) = 13.59, p < .0001). Post hoc analyses showed two populations, testing equivalent participants with that Catalan–Spanish participants responded faster to just the control stimuli should make the differences words than Spanish–Catalan participants (t1(78) = disappear. 2.149, p < .04, t2(39) = 8.748, p < .0001). The difference between the two populations for non-words was only significant in the item analyses (t1(78) = 0.823, ns, Experiment 2 t2(34) = 3.248, p < .003). Table 2 shows the mean and standard deviations for each group and condition. The goal of this experiment was to test whether the differences in the control stimuli observed in the previ- Discussion ous experiment were due to a lower command of Cata- The results of this experiment are clear. They show lan in Spanish-dominant bilinguals than in their that in spite of a high command of their second language, Catalan–dominant peers, or whether the differences were Spanish-dominant bilinguals are far behind Catalan- experimentally induced. This experiment is a replication dominant bilinguals in terms of their accuracy in recog- of the previous one, but using only the control stimuli. nizing stimuli including vowels /e/ and /e/. The results also show that while the direction of the change that Method transformed real words into non-words has no influence on Spanish-dominant bilinguals, it makes a difference for Forty new participants from the same population as Catalan-dominant ones: Spanish–dominant bilinguals in the previous experiment were tested. Half of them had showed no differences in their scores for e- and e-stimuli, been exposed only to Spanish during the first years of but Catalan-dominant ones performed significantly their lives and half of them only to Catalan. better with e-stimuli. We will analyse this divergence Materials and experimental procedure were the same between the populations in the general discussion. as in the previous experiment, except that only the con- Although the error rates for control stimuli were trol stimuli were used. Therefore, only one list was used very low in both populations, the fact that there were (all participants were tested with the same stimuli). significant differences between them (although only in the items analysis) in the reaction times (and in the Results and discussion accuracy data -A0) could be taken as evidence that, in fact, Spanish–Catalan bilinguals had poorer lexical The analysis of the accuracy data (A0) showed no sig- knowledge than their Catalan–Spanish counterparts. nificant differences between the two groups (t1(38) = Though this may be the case, the situation in which 1.644, p > .10 and t2(39) = 1.335, p > .19, by items); the mean A0 were .988 for the Catalan-dominant group and .982 for the Spanish-dominant group. Table 2 Reaction times above 3000 ms. and below 200 ms. Mean reaction times for each control condition and bilingual (together representing less than 3% of all data) were dis- population (standard deviation in parentheses): Experiment 1 carded. Two ANOVAs were carried out on the reaction times, one by subjects and one by items. The analyses Words Non-words showed that words were responded to faster than non- Catalan dominant 965 (118) 1144 (155) words; F1(1,38) = 55.285, p<.0001 and F2 = (1,73) = Spanish dominant 1043 (196) 1174 (171) 38.425, p < .0001. Differences between Catalan–Spanish N. Sebastia´n-Galle´s et al. / Journal of Memory and Language 52 (2005) 240–255 247 and Spanish–Catalan bilinguals did not reach signifi- Table 3 cance in any of the analyses (both F < 1). Mean reaction times for each condition and bilingual popula- The interaction of these two factors was only signifi- tion (standard deviation in parentheses): Experiment 2 cant in the item analysis (F1(1,38) = 2.831, p > .10 and Words Non-words F2(1,73) = 16.085, p < .0001). Post hoc analyses of Catalan dominant 934 (190) 1058 (170) means showed no differences between populations for Spanish dominant 906 (114) 1103 (193) either words or non-words in the subject analyses (both t1s <1), although the analysis by items showed signifi- cant differences both for words (t2(39) = 2.395, p < iments for e-type and e-type stimuli in the Spanish-dom- .03), where Catalan-dominant participants were faster inant bilinguals could not be attributed to a poor than Spanish ones, and for non-words (t2(34) = 3.208, language command by this group of bilinguals. p < .003); here Spanish–Catalan bilinguals responded fas- ter than Catalan–Spanish ones. Table 3 shows the mean and standard deviations for each population and Experiment 3 condition. These data show that the differences observed in the The two previous experiments tested the ability of previous experiment in the control stimuli between highly proficient early bilinguals to discriminate between Spanish and Catalan-dominant bilinguals were due to words and non-words differing in a particular Catalan- the experimental situation.4 The only partially signifi- specific vowel contrast that is difficult for Spanish na- cant effect concerning the two groups of bilinguals was tives to perceive. The reason for this difficulty may be the interaction between group and lexicality, and it the differential exposure to Catalan and Spanish during was only significant in the items analysis. This result is the first years of life in the two populations. The fact difficult to explain, especially since the post hoc compar- that these early bilinguals were exposed to their second ison of means did not show reliable differences between language when the foundations of the L1 phonological groups either for words or for non-words. Summarizing, system had already been laid, along with their continu- on the strength of the present pattern of results, it seems ous use of their L1, may have contributed to the persis- safe to assume that populations can be considered as tence of these difficulties. The importance of this early having equivalent knowledge of the Catalan lexicon,5 exposure could be tested more conclusively in simulta- so the poor performance observed in the previous exper- neous bilinguals. As noted in the introduction, the early setting of phonetic categories does not follow the same path in simultaneous bilinguals as in monolingual indi-

4 viduals. In fact, there seems to be a period, around eight Due to the very high percentage of correct responses in the control stimuli (ceiling effect), hardly any variability was months of age, where bilingual infants are not sensitive observed in this condition. It has been argued that in this case to certain vowel contrasts. It may be that in bilingual irrelevant differences may yield statistically significant differ- adults, words may be represented in the lexicon in an idi- ences (Howel, 1982). In all the experiments reported here, osyncratic way, because of this period of non-differenti- performance was at ceiling in the Control condition for all ation. One potential scenario is that their discrimination groups. In the present circumstances, whenever statistically pattern will be intermediate, somewhere between those significant differences were observed in this condition they were of Catalan–Spanish and Spanish–Catalan early biling- considered spurious and no attempt at an explanation was uals (like those tested in the previous experiments); that made. is, their performance may be moderate, and their scores 5 Still, it might be argued that Spanish-dominant partici- somewhere between those of the early exposure pants in this experiment had a better knowledge of Catalan than those participating in Experiment 1. This is an objection populations. This possibility is supported by the data that is impossible to rule out. However, the way participants from simultaneous English–French bilinguals studied were selected makes this possibility quite unlikely. A single by Caramazza, Yeni-Komshian, Zurif, and Carbone program was used to run both Experiments 1 and 2; conditions (1973), who compared differences in the VOT produc- 1 and 3 corresponded to Experiment 1 and condition 2 to tion of monolingual and bilingual individuals. The re- Experiment 2 (there were two lists in Experiment 1, while only sults showed that bilinguals produced intermediate one in Experiment 2). Participants were tested during the same values, between those of French and English natives. period in the three conditions, and were assigned to one or However, Mack (1989) only partially replicated these re- other condition according the moment they came to the sults. In that study simultaneous bilinguals were able to laboratory. Thus, there is no a priori reason to believe that perform like monolinguals in the VOT distinction participants in Experiment 2 were from a different bilingual population than those of Experiment 1. As a matter of fact, (although they showed intermediate values for other participants in Experiment 3 were also run in the same period phoneme contrasts). and the way participants were recruited in all three experiments Still another possibility is that although Bosch and was exactly the same. Sebastia´n-Galle´s (2003) did not observe differences 248 N. Sebastia´n-Galle´s et al. / Journal of Memory and Language 52 (2005) 240–255 between bilingual infants as a function of the language ments. Like the early bilinguals, they all had attended of the mother (which we will assume, in most cases, is bilingual schools and grew up in a bilingual society. the dominant language in the environment for infants) Their knowledge of foreign languages was equivalent simultaneous bilinguals, as adults, may show a lan- to that of participants in the preceding experiments; guage dominance pattern. In the present case, those in this case as well, all participants reported having mostly exposed to Catalan in their first one or two learned English as a foreign language and the self-rates years of life show a pattern that is more consistent of their ability to understand written and spoken with the data of Catalan-dominant early bilinguals, English were 6.5 and 4.5, respectively. Although partic- while those mostly exposed to Spanish show a pattern ipants were classified according to the language spoken closer to that of Spanish-dominant early participants. by their mother, they filled in a questionnaire designed Some of the data in the speech perception literature to gather information about the percentage of use of with simultaneous bilinguals point in this direction. each language in different contexts. Crucially, both As already noted, few studies have analysed the groups did not differ in the amount of use of each lan- speech perception capacities of simultaneous biling- guage at home or outside it. The information from this uals. In some, the results are consistent with this type questionnaire was also used to analyse the results. As of hypothesis. Cutler and colleagues (Cutler, Mehler, the two analyses yielded convergent patterns of results, Norris, & Seguı´, 1989, 1992) studied the segmentation the data concerning these questionnaires, as well as capacities of simultaneous English–French bilinguals. the statistics performed with them, are presented in Though the results were complex, they were inter- Appendix A. preted by the authors as indicating that even in the We use the terms Simultaneous-Catalan and Simulta- case of highly proficient simultaneous bilinguals, a lan- neous-Spanish refer to simultaneous bilinguals whose guage dominance was to be found. This explanation motherÕs language was either Catalan or Spanish. ‘‘Cat- was also suggested in the study of simultaneous bilin- alan–Spanish’’ and ‘‘Spanish–Catalan’’ refer to biling- gual infants by Sebastia´n-Galle´s and Bosch (2002).In uals who were raised as monolinguals in the first years this study, the acquisition of phonotactic constraints of their lives, but who acquired their L2 early in life in monolingual Catalan and Spanish 10-month-old (the type of bilinguals tested in the first two was compared with that of bilingual infants. The re- experiments). sults showed that simultaneous bilingual infants with The materials and experimental procedure were the Catalan as the dominant language in the environment same as in Experiment 1. showed a pattern of behaviour indistinguishable from that of Catalan monolingual infants, and clearly differ- Results and discussion ent from that of Spanish monolinguals. However, simultaneous bilinguals mostly exposed to Spanish Error analyses—maternal language showed an intermediate pattern between infants Four different groups of analyses were carried out. mostly exposed to Catalan (monolingual and bilin- First, all simultaneous bilinguals, as a single group, were gual) and monolingual Spanish ones. compared to both groups of early bilinguals. Second, the Summarizing, the goal of this experiment is to ex- two subgroups of simultaneous bilinguals were com- plore the processing and representation of lexical items pared to each other. Third, performance in each experi- in simultaneous Spanish–Catalan bilinguals and to com- mental condition was compared across the four groups. pare it with the performance of early Spanish–Catalan Finally, the asymmetry observed for early Catalan– and Catalan–Spanish ones. Spanish bilinguals but not for early Spanish–Catalan ones when both types of experimental stimuli were com- Method pared, was also assessed here for each group of simulta- neous bilinguals. Participants Forty new participants were tested. All of them Simultaneous bilinguals vs. early bilinguals were raised in a bilingual environment from the first Separate ANOVAs were performed (by subjects and day of their lives. Half of them had a Catalan-speaking by items) on the A0 statistic. The analyses showed signif- mother and a Spanish-speaking father, and the other icant effects of bilingual type (Catalan–Spanish, Span- half had the reverse pattern. All of them were under- ish–Catalan, and simultaneous) (F1(2,117) = 75.123, graduate Psychology students who participated in the p < .0001; F2(2,334) = 252.315, p < .0001), type of experiment in exchange for course credits. In addition, stimulus (F1(2,234) = 299.144, p < .0001; F2(2,167) = all of them had been born in Catalonia (most of them 214.984, p < .0001) and the interaction of these two fac- in Barcelona or its metropolitan area). None reported tors (F1(4,234) = 43.367, p <.0001; F2(4, 334) = 47.373, any hearing deficits. They were extracted from the p < .0001). Table 1 shows the means for each group of same pool as that used in the previous two experi- bilinguals in each condition. Comparisons of means N. Sebastia´n-Galle´s et al. / Journal of Memory and Language 52 (2005) 240–255 249 showed significant differences between simultaneous Comparison of all four groups: Differences in each bilinguals and each group of early bilinguals for all experimental condition stimulus types. For control stimuli, the comparison be- To further assess the effect of early exposure, the tween Catalan–Spanish bilinguals and simultaneous four groups of bilinguals were compared in each experi- bilinguals was significant (t1(78) = 3.138, p < .002; mental condition. For e-type stimuli, the type of t2(39) = 2.043, p < .05), simultaneous bilinguals per- bilingual factor reached significance in both analyses forming better than Catalan–Spanish ones (.984 vs. (F1(3,116) = 38.427, p < .0001, F2(3,195) = 75.595, .974). The comparison between Spanish–Catalan biling- p < .0001). Scheffe´ multiple comparisons of means found uals and simultaneous bilinguals yielded the same pat- no differences between the two groups of maternal-Cata- tern, simultaneous bilinguals performing better (.984 lan bilinguals (Catalan–Spanish and Simultaneous-Cata- vs. .967; t1(78) = 4.964, p < .0001, t2(39) = 4.903, lan), while all the other comparisons were significant (all p < .0001). For both experimental stimulus types, the ps < .05 both in the subject and item analyses). Both performance of simultaneous bilinguals was between groups of maternal–Catalan bilinguals performed better that of the two groups of early bilinguals. For e-type than the other groups with this type of stimuli, while stimuli Catalan-Spanish bilinguals performed better simultaneous-Spanish were between Spanish–Catalan than simultaneous ones, (.874 vs. .798: t1(78) = 4.236, and both groups of Catalan–maternal bilinguals. For p < .0001; t2(39) = 6.227, p < .0001). And simultaneous e-type of stimuli, the type of bilingual factor also reached bilinguals performed better than Spanish–Catalan bil- significance in both analyses (F1(3,116) = 58.263, inguals (.798 vs. .684: t1(78) = 5.062, p < .0001; p < .0001, F2(3,189) = 227.314, p < .0001). The compar- t2(39) = 8.589, p < .0001). For e-type stimuli the same ison of means showed that all means were significant at pattern was obtained: Catalan–Spanish bilinguals least at p < .016, except the comparison between the outscored simultaneous bilinguals (.953 vs. .813; two Spanish–maternal groups which failed to reach sig- t1(78) = 7.041, p < .0001; t2(39) = 12.573, p < .0001); nificance in the subject analysis (p < .057). Overall, there Spanish–Catalan bilinguals performed worse than were differences between all types of bilinguals as a func- simultaneous bilinguals (.687 vs. .813; t1(78) = 4.857, tion of their initial exposure to Catalan.6 p < .0001; t2(39) = 13.871, p < .0001). e-type vs. e-type across groups Simultaneous Catalan vs. Simultaneous Spanish bilinguals The performance of the four groups of bilinguals in Another set of analyses was carried out to compare the the two experimental conditions was also compared. two simultaneous bilingual subgroups. Table 4 shows the The interaction between group of bilinguals and stimu- mean A0 statistics of these populations. The analyses lus type was significant in both the subject and the item showed significant effects for type of stimulus factor analyses (F1(3,116) = 5.731, p < .001, F2(3,384) = 2.710, (F1(2,76) = 112.809, p < .0001; F2(2,167) = 144.542, p < .045). The differences between e-type and e-type p < .0001), type of bilingual (F1(1,38) = 13,410, p < stimuli were .079 and .003 for Catalan–Spanish and .001, F2(1,167) = 122.01, p < .0001) and the interaction Spanish–Catalan bilinguals and .023 and .008 for Simul- of these two factors (F1(2,76) = 8.542, p < .0001, F2(2, taneous-Catalan and Simultaneous-Spanish bilinguals. 167) = 19.746, p < .0001). The comparison of means The comparison of means showed significant differences showed that the groups differed on the control stimuli, between the types of stimuli for Simultaneous-Catalan but only in the item analysis (.986 vs. .981; t1(38) = bilinguals (t1(19) = 2.437, p < .025; t2(128) = 1.132, p > .26, t2(39) = 5.333, p < .0001). The two popu- 7.202, p < .0001). However, the difference failed to lations differed in both varepsilon-type and e-type reach significance in the subject analysis (t1 < 1), responses in the subjects and items analyses (for e-type: although it reached significance in the item analysis t1(38) = 3.449, p < .001, t2(65) = 7.349, p < .0001; for (t2(128) = 3.984, p < .0001) for the Simultaneous-Span- e-type: t1(38) = 3.363, p < .002, t2(63) = 13.414, p < ish bilinguals. .0001). Reaction times analyses Although error rates were not as high as in the Span- ish–Catalan early bilinguals tested in Experiment 1, we Table 4 Mean A0 for each group of simultaneous bilingual population performed the same analyses so as to be able to compare and each stimulus type (standard deviation in parenthesis) the results. e-type e-type Control Simultaneous .846 (.047) .868 (.041) .986 (.012) 6 Two new ANOVAs by subjects and by items were Catalan dominant performed adding the cognate status of the stimuli to the Simultaneous .750 (.114) .758 (.140) .981 (.017) factors declared in the previous analyses. No main effect or Spanish dominant interaction including it was observed. 250 N. Sebastia´n-Galle´s et al. / Journal of Memory and Language 52 (2005) 240–255

Reaction times above 3000 ms and below 200 ms (to- ior between Catalan–Spanish and Spanish–Catalan gether representing less than 3% of all data) were dis- early bilinguals. This pattern could reflect the fact that carded. Mean reaction times were 1106 ms for control some participants behaved like Catalan–Spanish and words and 1174 ms for control non-words. Two ANO- others like Spanish–Catalan bilinguals. One possibility VAs, one by subjects and one by items, were carried was that daily exposure, in particular in the first out on the reaction times of the control condition for months/years of life, was responsible for these differ- the three groups of participants (Early Catalan–Spanish, ences. One way of classifying simultaneous bilinguals Early Spanish–Catalan, and Simultaneous). The analy- in this respect is according to the language spoken by ses showed no effect of language group in the subject their mother; so new analyses were performed separating analysis, but a highly significant effect in the item analy- simultaneous bilinguals into two subgroups, Simulta- sis (F1(2,117) = 1.483, p > .23; F2(2,146) = 66.272, neous-Catalan and Simultaneous-Spanish. p < .0001), the effect of lexicality was highly significant When these two subgroups were compared, differ- in both analyses (F1(1,177) = 200.698, p < .0001; ences were observed for both experimental stimulus F2(1,73) = 45.650, p < .0001): words were responded types: Simultaneous-Catalan performed better than to faster than non-words. The interaction between Simultaneous-Spanish bilinguals. Also, when both stim- group and lexicality was significant only in the ulus types were compared in each population, Simulta- item analysis (F1(2,177) = 1.596, p > .20; F2(2,146) = neous-Catalan subjects showed a small but significant 9.148, p < .0001). asymmetry, while Simultaneous-Spanish bilinguals did The group of simultaneous bilinguals was divided not. into two subgroups according to the language of the When the four groups of bilinguals were compared, mother, and the data were analysed separately. The the results showed that, for e-type stimuli, both mean reaction times for words and non-words were Catalan–Spanish and Simultaneous-Catalan bilinguals 963 and 1049 ms, respectively, for the Simultaneous- performed better than Spanish–Catalan and Simulta- Catalan participants, and 1135 and 1206 ms for the neous-Spanish, but Spanish-simultaneous subjects Simultaneous-Spanish ones. The ANOVA showed that performed better than the Spanish–Catalan group. For the Simultaneous-Catalan participants were faster than e-type stimuli, the analyses showed significant differ- their Simultaneous-Spanish counterparts (1049 vs. ences between all groups of bilinguals, in the following 1127 ms; F1(1,38) = 5.385, p < .03; F2(1,73) = 215.350, order: Catalan–Spanish better than Simultaneous-Cata- p < .0001), but that the maternal-language factor did lan, better than Simultaneous-Spanish, better than not interact with the lexicality factor (F1<1; Spanish-Catalan. F2(1,73) = 2.451, p > .122).7 Taken together, the results of this experiment provide support for the idea that in simultaneous bilingual Discussion acquisition, exposure to a contrast is not enough for an individual to attain the same level of proficiency as This third experiment assessed a population of simul- bilinguals exposed to a single language during the first taneous Spanish–Catalan bilinguals with three types of year/s of life; that is, even Simultaneous-Catalan biling- analyses. In the first place, all simultaneous bilinguals uals (as a group) did not perform at the same level as were evaluated as a single group and compared to each Catalan–Spanish bilinguals. Moreover, significant differ- group of early bilinguals. The results showed significant ences were observed between the populations of simulta- differences between this population and the two groups neous bilinguals. Those bilinguals whose mother spoke of early bilinguals. Regarding the experimental stimuli, Catalan, and who presumably had greater exposure to simultaneous bilinguals showed an intermediate behav- that language than to Spanish in the first years of life, performed better than simultaneous bilinguals who were exposed mostly to Spanish in the same period. They also 7 Because of the relatively high error rates of Simultaneous- showed a significant asymmetry when both experimental Spanish participants, and to increase the statistical power of the stimuli were analysed, a pattern not observed in the analyses, the cognate status of the stimuli was analysed pooling Spanish-dominant simultaneous bilinguals. This sug- together the data of Catalan–Spanish and Simultaneous-Cata- gests that differences in the amount of initial exposure lan bilinguals (the analyses performed including Simultaneous- may be responsible for speech processing differences that Spanish participants did not yield any significant effect or may persist throughout life. interaction involving the cognate status factor). Two ANOVAs including lexical and cognate status as well as experimental type were performed on the reaction times. They showed a signif- icant effect of cognate status (F1(1, 59) = 9.695, p < .003, General discussion F2(1,118) = 5.991, p < .02), non-cognates being faster than cognates (1158 ms vs. 1211, respectively). No interaction This series of three experiments studied Spanish–Cat- involving the cognate status yielded significant results. alan and Catalan–Spanish bilinguals who were first N. Sebastia´n-Galle´s et al. / Journal of Memory and Language 52 (2005) 240–255 251 exposed to Catalan at different points in their lives, and in whom the amount of initial exposure also differed. The results of the first two experiments indicated that highly skilled Spanish–Catalan (early) bilinguals had great difficulty in distinguishing between mispronounced and properly pronounced words that differed in a Cata- lan-only contrast. This difficulty was restricted to this contrast and was not observed for other (common) con- trasts. The last experiment explored simultaneous biling- uals, and found significant differences between individuals exposed to both languages from birth but whose maternal language was Spanish and those also ex- posed to both languages from birth but whose maternal language was Catalan: the language used by the mother was a good predictor of the participantsÕ ability to per- form the task. From the questionnaire that participants filled in, this variable seems to be crucial. As already mentioned, there were no differences between both groups of simultaneous bilinguals in the amount of exposure to Catalan at home. Also, an estimation of the percentage of use of each language outside home was also assessed. This variable did not correlate with Fig. 2. Individual scores for all participants as a function of any of the experimental conditions. bilingual group. Above, scores for e-type stimuli. Below, scores Though there is a possibility that Simultaneous- for e-type stimuli. Spanish bilinguals may have had less exposure to Catalan during childhood and adolescence than their Simultaneous-Catalan peers due to the social environ- One factor that has not been commented upon so ment in which they grew up, this is in fact highly unlikely. far is the amount of exposure participants had to ‘‘mis- Taken together, the results of the experimental series, and pronunciations’’ of Catalan words. It could be argued in particular those of the last experiment, support the no- that in the present experiments, participants were asked tion that early exposure has a profound influence on the to decide whether or not certain stimuli were mispro- way first and second language sounds are perceived. nunciations of real words. Spanish–Catalan bilinguals, As a summary, Fig. 2 illustrates the results of Exper- when pronouncing Catalan words, mostly use the iments 1 and 3. This figure plots individual scores of the phonetic categories of Spanish, so the Catalan contrast four types of bilinguals for the contrastive vowel catego- /e-e/ is assimilated to the Spanish phoneme /e/. This ries. When individual data are considered, the results could account for the asymmetry in the perception of show different distributions for each type of bilingual. experimental stimuli for Catalan–Spanish bilinguals: It could be said that there is a boundary line that sepa- exposure to mispronounced words containing vowel rates individuals who were exposed mostly to Catalan or /e/ by Spanish–Catalan bilinguals, which would be mostly to Spanish in the first years of life. For instance, mispronounced as having vowel /e/, but not the other

while no early Catalan–Spanish bilinguals or simulta- way around. That is, because of the assimilation to neous Catalan-dominant bilinguals had a score of less the Spanish vowel system, a word like [ga ey ðE]is

than .80 for the e-type stimuli, only seven simultaneous likely to be mispronounced by Spanish-dominants as (40%) and eight early (20%) Spanish-dominant biling- *[ga ey ðE], but a word like [finestE] is less likely to be uals scored above it. These results are in agreement with mispronounced as *[finestE]. So, because of the bilin- previous results reported with simultaneous bilinguals; gual nature of Catalan society, individuals (regardless

as mentioned in the introduction, Cutler et al. (1989, of their home language) hear, for example, instances

y 1992) observed that simultaneous French–English bil- of [ga ey ðE], *[ga eðE] and [finestE], but never

inguals behaved differentially in a fragment detection *[finestE]. In this way, Catalan–Spanish bilinguals task and in a word spotting task depending on the lan- may tend to misidentify *[ga ey ðE] as a real word, but guage spoken by the mother. not *[finestrE], since they have never been exposed to However, it would be wrong to conclude that the per- these mispronunciations. Spanish–Catalan bilinguals formance of simultaneous bilingualsÕ performance is do not show the asymmetry because they have diffi-

equivalent to that of early bilinguals. Both subgroups culty in perceiving the /e-e/ contrast; thus, to their ears

y of simultaneous bilinguals differed significantly from there are no differences between [ga ey ðE] and *[ga eðE] the early bilingual groups. and [finestE] and *[finestE]. 252 N. Sebastia´n-Galle´s et al. / Journal of Memory and Language 52 (2005) 240–255

However, this explanation cannot easily account for not the case and that simultaneous exposure to two the pattern of results of simultaneous bilinguals. If we languages does have an effect on how the phonological consider that simultaneous bilinguals are exposed to system develops. The present pattern of results suggests both languages from birth, it is quite likely that simul- that initial exposure plays a crucial role in the way the taneous bilinguals are exposed to more mispronuncia- brain encodes phonological information. Its influence tions of e-e words than Catalan–Spanish ones (they can be considered to lie in two directions. On the one might have heard the mispronunciations from the hand, initial exposure is particularly relevant in the Spanish-speaking parent and siblings). Thus, simulta- case of simultaneous bilinguals. Indeed, these individu- neous bilinguals should show a stronger asymmetry als did not differ in terms of overall exposure to Cata- than early Catalan–Spanish ones, as they would have lan, but showed striking differences in performance: been exposed both earlier and more intensely to mis- Simultaneous Spanish bilinguals showed significant dif- pronounced stimuli (from one of the parents), but this ficulty in performing the task, while the performance of is not in fact the case. The difference between the two Simultaneous Catalan bilinguals was only slightly categories was .079 for Catalan-Spanish bilinguals worse than that of early Catalan–Spanish bilinguals. and .023 for Simultaneous-Catalan bilinguals (and So, the initial differences between the populations seem .008 for Simultaneous-Spanish ones, and .003 for Span- to be responsible for important differences in adult per- ish–Catalan ones). At present, it is unclear why simul- formance. Further, the differences between early Cata- taneous bilinguals do not behave like early bilinguals. lan–Spanish bilinguals and simultaneous bilinguals, Because no data about perceptual abilities of simulta- along with the developmental data showing different neous bilinguals were collected, it might be that the paths for bilingual infants acquiring the vowel system lack of asymmetry, in particular for the Simulta- (Bosch & Sebastia´n-Galle´s, 2003) may be taken as an neous-Spanish, could be the consequence of poor per- indication that simultaneous bilinguals follow a differ- ceptual discrimination capacities in these individuals. ent developmental path. Whether this path can be ac- As mentioned in the introduction, simultaneous bilin- counted for in terms of a very precocious interference gual infants do not follow the same developmental between a (to be established) dominant L1 and a (less path as monolingual ones (at least for the contrast established) L2 language (note that this hypothesis im- and population under study here). One way of testing plies the assumption that infants give preference to one this possibility would be to compare early and simulta- language over the other, for which conflicting evidence neous bilinguals in more perceptual tasks. In fact, a is available, see Sebastia´n-Galle´s & Bosch, in press, for closer look at the data may be taken as supporting this a review) or by the inherent dynamics of simulta- explanation. Simultaneous-Catalan bilinguals showed neously establishing the categories of both languages, less asymmetry because they perform worse for e-stim- remains an open question. uli than do Catalan–Spanish ones, while their perfor- Finally, the data also indicate that late exposure mance for e-stimuli is similar. That is, in spite of plays a significant role in the way phonological infor- having heard few mispronunciations of e-stimuli, they mation is represented. Indeed, the asymmetry observed confuse words and non-words in this category, a poten- between the types of experimental stimuli, in Catalan- tial indication of some perceptual problems. However, dominant bilinguals, suggests that, at least with respect these comments are merely speculative at present and to the way words are represented in the lexicon, differ- further research into the matter is needed. ent realizations (such as dialectal variations) are stored. The results reported here have important conse- Whether this information at the level of the lexicon quences for theories of the acquisition of L2 phonolog- feeds down and modifies the way phonetic categories ical properties. According to the influential view are represented is something that the present study can- proposed by Flege (2003, see also Iverson et al. 2003) not answer; research is currently being carried out in the difficulties posed by learning a new L2 phoneme our laboratory to explore this question. Data with contrast stem from the interference produced by the al- short-term training in laboratory conditions (Norris, ready established L1 phonological system. On this McQueen, & Cutler, 2003) indicate that this might be view, the age of acquisition effects are due to interfer- the case. To explain the present pattern of data, any ence from L1, rather than to maturational factors. model of the L2 phonological system must take into Therefore, if the acquisition of an L2 phonological sys- consideration not only the age of acquisition (under- tem occurs at the same time as that of the L1, interfer- stood either as a maturational issue or as an interfer- ence should not be present or should be greatly ence effect), but also the amount of experience. reduced, Since there is no phonological system in place Furthermore, these two factors interact. The speech that can affect the way in which the second one is rep- perception system does not seem to be able to compen- resented, this suggests that the simultaneous acquisition sate for the difference in initial exposure between of two languages should be achieved without major dif- Simultaneous Catalan and Simultaneous Spanish ficulty. However, our results demonstrate that this is bilinguals. N. Sebastia´n-Galle´s et al. / Journal of Memory and Language 52 (2005) 240–255 253

Table 5 Mean and standard deviations for each group of simultaneous biliguals on the variable home and correlations with scores with each experimental condition Home exposure Correlation with e-stimuli Correlation with e-stimuli Simultaneous Catalan-dominant 1.125 (.393) .193 .302 Simultaneous Spanish-dominant .975 (.580) .682** .794** ** p < .01 bilateral.

Acknowledgments of exposure to Catalan, appears to be more sensitive to this var- iable. Nevertheless, we should not automatically conclude that This research was supported by a McDonnell Simultaneous Catalan bilingualsÕ exposure at home did not Foundation grant (JSMF 20002079), the Spanish Minis- have any significant impact; it may well be the case that in this terio de Ciencia y Tecnologı´a a (Grant Contract, population the range of data was not large enough to observe any correlation. Indeed, it has to be remembered that while BSO2001-3492-C04-01) and the Catalan DURSI Simultaneous-Spanish bilinguals had a standard deviation close (2001SGR00034). The authors want to thank Xavier to .6, Catalan-dominant ones showed a standard deviation of Mayoral for his technical support, Cristina Baus for .4. However, it seems safe to conclude from this analysis that running the cognate rating (with monolingual Spanish the performance of simultaneous bilinguals is greatly affected participants, Ferran Pons for recording the stimuli and by the amount of exposure at home. It should be borne in mind Albert Costa, Salvador Soto, and Gustavo Deco for that this variable was estimated in a rather coarse way (assum- comments on a previous version of this manuscript). ing, for instance, that each parent contributed equally to the We also thank the editor and reviewers, in particular participantsÕ input). Dr. Kroll, for their useful suggestions. Some of the data A second measure reflected their use in social contexts out- presented here were presented at the 15th International side home (college, friends, work,...). Information about amount of use and language used with friends (or at work, in Congress of the Phonetics Sciences. case participants worked) was gathered. It was estimated that, on average, participants slept 8 h everyday, spent 4 h (awake) at home and attended lectures, seminars... 6 h every day. Be- Appendix A. Language dominance and use cause all students attended the same courses, this last exposure could not contribute to differentiate both groups of bilinguals. Participants filled in a questionnaire concerning the percent- So, 6 h were left for socializing where differences might arise. age of use of each language in different contexts, to establish the Simultaneous-Catalan bilinguals spent 2.90 h (SD .79) and language dominance in their infancy and childhood as well as Simultaneous-Spanish bilinguals spent 3.05 h (SD .88) listening their current dominance. A first measure reflected the language to Catalan. This difference did not approach significance. In use at home. This information included the language in which addition, correlations between this measure and the perfor- both parents communicate to each other and the language spo- mance with both types of experimental stimuli were performed. ken by brothers, sisters and other relatives that might be living In all cases the correlations were extremely low, r < .10. with the family. With this information an estimation of the use of Catalan was calculated. If both parents talked to each other in Catalan, the participant was assigned 1 point, if both parents talked to each other in Spanish, the participant was assigned 0 References points, if they used both languages, 0.5 points were assigned. The same criteria were used for the language of communication Best, C. T. (1995). A direct realist view of cross-language speech of siblings or other relatives. If the participant was an only perception. In W. Strange (Ed.), Speech perception and child, the score corresponding to the language of communica- linguistic experience (pp. 171–206). Baltimore, MD: York tion between the parents was multiplied by two. Scores could Press. vary from 0 to 2. Table 5 shows the average for each bilingual Bialystok, E., & Hakuta, K. (1999). Confounded age: Linguistic group and the correlation between this variable and the A0 and cognitive factors in age differences for second language scores for each experimental condition. There were no differ- acquisition. In D. birdsong (Ed.), Second language acquisi- ences between the two groups as a function of use of Catalan tion and the critical period hypothesis (pp. 161–181). Mah- at home (t < 1). wah, NJ: Erlbaum. Language exposure at home correlated significantly with the Birdsong, D. (1992). Ultimate attainment in second language performance of Simultaneous-Spanish bilinguals, but not of acquisition. Language, 68, 706–755. Simultaneous-Catalan ones. These results suggest that Simulta- Birdsong, D. (1999). Second language acquisition and the critical neous-Catalan bilinguals had a sufficient amount of exposure to period hypothesis. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. this language to develop the phonetic categories of Catalan, so Birdsong, D. (in press). Interpreting age effects in second that differences in the amount of exposure at home do not seem language acquisition. In J. F. Kroll & A. M. B. de Groot to be important. However, the performance of Simultaneous (Ed.), Handbook of bilingualism: Psycholinguistic approaches. Spanish bilinguals, because of a greater variation in the amount Oxford: Oxford University Press. 254 N. Sebastia´n-Galle´s et al. / Journal of Memory and Language 52 (2005) 240–255

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