LLI Meeting: Nov 11, 2013

This Monday, November 11th, 2013, we have Aysegul Kutlu presenting to us one of her many research topics: “Typological Differences in Late-Bilinguals: The Case of Turkish-English Bilinguals”.

Abstract:Simultaneous (conference) interpreting is a complex skill involving language comprehension and production in two languages at the same time. This means that interpreters, similar to bilinguals, must do simultaneously what monolingual speakers do serially. During simultaneous interpreting, as new speech input is presented continuously the interpreter must comprehend this speech input and store it in memory. At the same time, earlier input must be reformulated mentally into the target language and be articulated (Gerver,1976; Lambert, 1992; Padilla, Bajo, Canas, 1995). This simultaneous comprehension and production makes simultaneous interpreting a cognitively demanding task. The challenging part of simultaneous interpreting is understanding what is said in the language A (e.g., English) while producing it in the language B (e.g., Turkish), and vice versa, and this must be done continuously and extremely quickly without errors. Thus, simultaneous interpreting requires the skills of a bilingual speaker, ideally one who learned the two languages at the same time (simultaneous bilingual) or the second language in early childhood (early bilingual). However, not all simultaneous interpreters are simultaneous or early bilinguals. They are more likely to be late bilinguals. In this study I would like to test sentence comprehension in late bilinguals who are or will be specializing in simultaneous interpreting in the Translation Department (English) at Marmara University (Istanbul, Turkey). I will use a syntactic priming task (using complete sentences) and record their brain responses using Event Related Potentials (brain wave). The research question is as follows: Are all late bilinguals similar, or would we expect to see differences between different language groups? Bilingualism studies are mainly conducted on Indo-European or Romance languages. Turkish, an agglutinative Altaic family language, does not fit within these studies because of its typological differences. Thus, observing Turkish-English late bilinguals will provide us with new typological data to understand language acquisition (learning), comprehension and production.
We will meet at the usual date and location, Mondays at 2:30pm in VSSM5220. Have a great and productive weekend, everyone!

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