Bilingual Language Processing: The Role of Socio-Cultural and Linguistic Context

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Language, following the Cognitive Revolution, is seen primarily as a higher mental function, working in tandem with other such faculties, like attention, executive functions and so on. Hence the focus has shifted from the analysis of the surface structures to how language is processed online, in a dynamic fashion, on the go. This underlines what goes on in the human mind when one either comprehends or produces language; the factors responsible behind the scene, that regulate how one processes language. Following this, the notion of bilingualism and bilingual language processing has been a much focused and discussed topic among researcher. Current discussions on bilingualism in the scholarly circles have focused on issues as myriad as social, cultural, cognitive, psychological, developmental, educational and even political aspects, alongside the obvious linguistic factors and has seen immense growth from the Revised Hierarchical Model (Kroll & Steward, 1994), Bilingual Interaction Activation Model (BIA, Dijkstra & van Heuven, 1998), Inhibitory control Model (Green 1998) to the recent Adaptive control hypothesis (Green & Abutalebi, 2013). The Adaptive Control Hypothesis specially has gained much traction with researchers finding compelling evidence (Hartanto & Yang, 2016; Verreyt et al., 2015) for the importance of interactional context on bilingual language processing. In tandem with this is the research on the influence of cultural context on language processing which first started a decade ago and is still continuously finding evidence. Thus, the main emerging trend in bilingual language processing research today is on the influence of context, be it linguistic context or non-linguistic context like culture.
Supervisor: Som, Bidisha
Humanities and Social Sciences