Speaking the native language in second language contexts

Open Access
Moriyasu, Mizuki
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Judith Fran Kroll, Thesis Supervisor
  • Jeff M Love, Honors Advisor
  • bilingualism
  • immersion
  • spoken production
  • inhibition
Language immersion has long been considered the best way to learn a second language (L2). However, it is possible that while the L2 is enhanced by immersion, the first language (L1) suffers some costs. In the present study, two groups of Japanese-English bilinguals – one in the U.S. and one in Japan – named pictures in each language. In one condition, the pictures in a given block were named in one language alone, either Japanese or English. In the other condition, picture naming language was cued by a colored frame surrounding the picture, indicating whether the picture was to be named in Japanese or in English. Although both bilingual groups were dominant in Japanese as the L1 and also highly proficient in English as the L2, they revealed significant costs to the L1 when naming in the L1 following the L2 and when naming in the mixed language block. The group immersed in the L2 suffered greater costs to their L1 and were generally slower to name pictures in both languages. These results suggest a contribution of both local and global inhibitory processes in bilingual speech production. Most critically, they demonstrate that it is possible for bilinguals to lose the advantage in spoken fluency of the native language if the L2 was recently used actively.