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Linguistics and Cognitive Science

Indirect Translation Facilitation of Tip-of-the-Tongue Experiences in Spanish-English Bilinguals

Micah Johnson ('10); Deborah Burke

Previous research on bilingual word retrieval has revealed an intriguing phenomenon: Spanish-English bilinguals name pictures (ie. leg) faster when accompanied by a distracter word (ie. milk) whose spanish translation (ie. leche) shares initial phonology with the target name (Cost & Caramazza, 1999; Knupsky & Amrhein, 2007). This indirect phonological facilitation effect has never been investigated in the tip-of- the-tongue state (TOTs). Pronunciation of words phonologically related to a TOT target word increases resolution of the TOT state (James & Burke, 2000). Thus, there is reason to believe that the indirect phonological effect should also facilitate word retrieval in TOTs. The hypothesis of the present study is that Spanish-English bilinguals, when answering general knowledge questions or identifying pictures of celebrities, will have fewer TOTs and more resolutions if the target answer shares phonology with the translation of an accompanying word. Results are forthcoming.
Funding provided by: The Aubrey H. and Eileen J Seed Award; Pomona College Linguistics and Cognitive Science Dept.

Research at Pomona