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Language conflict in the bilingual brain.

van Heuven WJ, Schriefers H, Dijkstra T, Hagoort P - Cereb. Cortex (2008)

Bottom Line: The large majority of humankind is more or less fluent in 2 or even more languages.This raises the fundamental question how the language network in the brain is organized such that the correct target language is selected at a particular occasion.Importantly, stimulus-based language conflict was found in brain regions in the LIPC associated with phonological and semantic processing, whereas response-based language conflict was only found in the pre-supplementary motor area/anterior cingulate cortex when language conflict leads to response conflicts.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Nijmegen Institute for Cognition and Information, Radboud University Nijmegen, Montessorilaan 3, 6525 HR, Nijmegen, The Netherlands. wvh@psychology.nottingham.ac.uk

ABSTRACT
The large majority of humankind is more or less fluent in 2 or even more languages. This raises the fundamental question how the language network in the brain is organized such that the correct target language is selected at a particular occasion. Here we present behavioral and functional magnetic resonance imaging data showing that bilingual processing leads to language conflict in the bilingual brain even when the bilinguals' task only required target language knowledge. This finding demonstrates that the bilingual brain cannot avoid language conflict, because words from the target and nontarget languages become automatically activated during reading. Importantly, stimulus-based language conflict was found in brain regions in the LIPC associated with phonological and semantic processing, whereas response-based language conflict was only found in the pre-supplementary motor area/anterior cingulate cortex when language conflict leads to response conflicts.

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Sources of stimulus-based and response-based language conflicts for interlingual homographs in the ELD task and the GLD task. (A) For Dutch–English bilinguals a stimulus-based language conflict is present in both tasks at the level of phonology (e.g., phonology of ROOM in English is /ru:m/, and in Dutch /ro:m/), semantics (ROOM has different meanings in Dutch (meaning “cream”) and English), and different language memberships (ROOM is both a Dutch and an English word). (B) For Dutch–English bilinguals a response-based language conflict is present for interlingual homographs (e.g., ROOM) in the ELD task, because they can be interpreted as an English word (requiring a “Yes” response), and as a Dutch word (requiring a “No” response). In contrast, in a GLD task both interpretations of the homograph require a “Yes” response and therefore no response-based language conflict arises in this task.
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fig1: Sources of stimulus-based and response-based language conflicts for interlingual homographs in the ELD task and the GLD task. (A) For Dutch–English bilinguals a stimulus-based language conflict is present in both tasks at the level of phonology (e.g., phonology of ROOM in English is /ru:m/, and in Dutch /ro:m/), semantics (ROOM has different meanings in Dutch (meaning “cream”) and English), and different language memberships (ROOM is both a Dutch and an English word). (B) For Dutch–English bilinguals a response-based language conflict is present for interlingual homographs (e.g., ROOM) in the ELD task, because they can be interpreted as an English word (requiring a “Yes” response), and as a Dutch word (requiring a “No” response). In contrast, in a GLD task both interpretations of the homograph require a “Yes” response and therefore no response-based language conflict arises in this task.

Mentions: We selected a set of Dutch–English interlingual homographs and a set of matched English control words that have no counterparts in Dutch. Recognition of interlingual homographs will suffer from a stimulus-based language conflict, because 1) they belong to 2 languages; 2) they are semantically ambiguous; and 3) their pronunciation is different for each language (Fig. 1A). Thus, interlingual homographs might activate representations from both languages in the word identification system, resulting in a potential language conflict within the word identification system, whereas the matched English control words will not induce such a conflict.


Language conflict in the bilingual brain.

van Heuven WJ, Schriefers H, Dijkstra T, Hagoort P - Cereb. Cortex (2008)

Sources of stimulus-based and response-based language conflicts for interlingual homographs in the ELD task and the GLD task. (A) For Dutch–English bilinguals a stimulus-based language conflict is present in both tasks at the level of phonology (e.g., phonology of ROOM in English is /ru:m/, and in Dutch /ro:m/), semantics (ROOM has different meanings in Dutch (meaning “cream”) and English), and different language memberships (ROOM is both a Dutch and an English word). (B) For Dutch–English bilinguals a response-based language conflict is present for interlingual homographs (e.g., ROOM) in the ELD task, because they can be interpreted as an English word (requiring a “Yes” response), and as a Dutch word (requiring a “No” response). In contrast, in a GLD task both interpretations of the homograph require a “Yes” response and therefore no response-based language conflict arises in this task.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2567421&req=5

fig1: Sources of stimulus-based and response-based language conflicts for interlingual homographs in the ELD task and the GLD task. (A) For Dutch–English bilinguals a stimulus-based language conflict is present in both tasks at the level of phonology (e.g., phonology of ROOM in English is /ru:m/, and in Dutch /ro:m/), semantics (ROOM has different meanings in Dutch (meaning “cream”) and English), and different language memberships (ROOM is both a Dutch and an English word). (B) For Dutch–English bilinguals a response-based language conflict is present for interlingual homographs (e.g., ROOM) in the ELD task, because they can be interpreted as an English word (requiring a “Yes” response), and as a Dutch word (requiring a “No” response). In contrast, in a GLD task both interpretations of the homograph require a “Yes” response and therefore no response-based language conflict arises in this task.
Mentions: We selected a set of Dutch–English interlingual homographs and a set of matched English control words that have no counterparts in Dutch. Recognition of interlingual homographs will suffer from a stimulus-based language conflict, because 1) they belong to 2 languages; 2) they are semantically ambiguous; and 3) their pronunciation is different for each language (Fig. 1A). Thus, interlingual homographs might activate representations from both languages in the word identification system, resulting in a potential language conflict within the word identification system, whereas the matched English control words will not induce such a conflict.

Bottom Line: The large majority of humankind is more or less fluent in 2 or even more languages.This raises the fundamental question how the language network in the brain is organized such that the correct target language is selected at a particular occasion.Importantly, stimulus-based language conflict was found in brain regions in the LIPC associated with phonological and semantic processing, whereas response-based language conflict was only found in the pre-supplementary motor area/anterior cingulate cortex when language conflict leads to response conflicts.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Nijmegen Institute for Cognition and Information, Radboud University Nijmegen, Montessorilaan 3, 6525 HR, Nijmegen, The Netherlands. wvh@psychology.nottingham.ac.uk

ABSTRACT
The large majority of humankind is more or less fluent in 2 or even more languages. This raises the fundamental question how the language network in the brain is organized such that the correct target language is selected at a particular occasion. Here we present behavioral and functional magnetic resonance imaging data showing that bilingual processing leads to language conflict in the bilingual brain even when the bilinguals' task only required target language knowledge. This finding demonstrates that the bilingual brain cannot avoid language conflict, because words from the target and nontarget languages become automatically activated during reading. Importantly, stimulus-based language conflict was found in brain regions in the LIPC associated with phonological and semantic processing, whereas response-based language conflict was only found in the pre-supplementary motor area/anterior cingulate cortex when language conflict leads to response conflicts.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus