University of Central Florida Undergraduate Research Journal - Cross-Modal Distraction on Simultaneous Translation: Language Interference in Spanish-English Bilinguals
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A frequency effect was observed where higher frequency words were recognized quickly and more accurately by both monolingual and bilingual groups. Phonetically similar word trials created a significant difference when compared to phonetically similar trials that presented the same word in both modes in Spanish (e.g., “work” on screen, “trabajo” audio). Having English on screen and Spanish in the headphones was faciliatory to performance because it allowed the audio language to not be activated. A bilingual advantage was found, but not to the extent of faster or better performance. The term “bilingual advantage” needs to be clearly defined so that researchers in the field can better compare their conclusions. One would expect similar results in languages that are very similar to each other, like Spanish is to English. Theoretically, the most similar results would be seen between Italian and Spanish. Bilingual discourse would benefit greatly from further research investigating these effects in other language pairs. There is a bias in bilingual research favoring popular languages over smaller, community languages. In order to understand how language affects thought processing, all languages need to be studied. More research needs to be done in order to reach a reliable conclusion on bilingual language effects.

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