Start-end : 2015-2017

Summary:

Until recently, there has been little evidence regarding how and when monolingual children begin to integrate words into an inter-connected semantic system and to develop an adult-like semantic system encoding relationships between words (e.g., Arias-Trejo & Plunkett, 2009; Rämä, Sirri, & Serres, 2013; Sirri & Rämä, 2015). Recent evidence shows that the organization of words in semantic long-term memory by taxonomic or associative relations starts to develop at the end of the second year of life. It is, however, not yet well documented whether lexical-semantic development depends on linguistic experience. This operation aims to study development of lexical-sematic system in bilingual children.

 

Results :

Recent evidence demonstrates that lexical-semantic connections emerge over the second year of life for monolingual children. Yet, little is known about the developing lexical-semantic organization of children acquiring two languages simultaneously. Our results revealed that only monolingual children exhibited a semantic priming effect when the time interval between the prime and target word was short while at the long time interval, both monolingual and bilingual children exhibited a semantic priming effect. This suggests that both language groups are sensitive to taxonomic relations between words but activation of sematic network might be less automatized or slower in bilingual children (Rämä, Sirri, & Goyet, 2018). Out research also showed that bilingual children exhibited sensitivity to taxonomic relationships between words in each of their languages, but the pattern of brain activity varied across the dominant and the non-dominant languages, suggesting that common and distinct neural resources underlie lexical-semantic processing in each language (Sirri & Rämä, 2017).