Cross-language Influences (CLI)

Does knowing additional languages influence how you process a given language?

 a. Different Script Multilinguals

Our goal is to characterize the pattern of interactions among the different languages of multilingual speakers. We ask whether even when only one language is needed in a given communicative context (e.g., reading a text, talking on the phone) multilinguals’ additional languages nonetheless influence performance. There is much evidence to this effect from bilinguals who use similar languages, but we ask whether these conclusions hold for different script multilinguals. Further, we are interested in understanding how multilinguals weigh different sources of information (orthography, sentential context, environmental context, language proficiency, cognitive resources etc.) to negotiate the activation of their different languages.

b. Trilingual language processing

We wish to characterize to what extent prior linguistic knowledge and cognitive resources available to the speaker influence the way in which he/she process a third-language. We further test whether these cross-language influences among trilingual speakers vary as a function of language domain, by testing lexicon, grammar and phonology. 

New Research Topic Frontiers in Psychology: Modulators of Cross-Language Influences in Learning and Processing, co-edited by Anat Prior, Tamar Degani, & Zofia Wodniecka

Funded by an Israel Science Foundation (ISF) grant (340/18) with Dr. Anat Prior.

Wahad (1), Shta'im (2), Three (3)! Cross language influences and cognitive control in third language processing (2018-2023)

Recent relevant papers:

o Norman, T., Degani, T., & Peleg, O. (2016). Transfer of L1 visual word recognition strategies during early stages of L2 learning. Second Language Research, 32, 109-122.

o Prior, A., Degani, T., Awawdy, S., Yassin, R., & Korem, N. (2017). Is susceptibility to cross-language interference domain specific? Cognition, 165, 10-25.

o Degani, T., Prior, A., & Hajajra, W. (2018). Cross-language semantic influences in different-script bilinguals. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 21, 782-804.

o Peleg, O., Degani, T., Raziq, M., & Taha, N. (accepted). Cross-lingual phonological effects in bilingual visual word recognition: Evidence from Arabic-Hebrew bilinguals. Second Language Research. 


      Shifting Across Languages – the Effect of Brief Exposure

Does talking on the phone in Russian before taking a test in Hebrew affect my performance? 

Here we ask whether short-term changes in the availability of the different languages of multilingual speakers carry consequences for subsequent performance. In particular, we test whether multilinguals’ performance in one language is modulated by a few minutes of exposure to the other language they know. We test this across a wide range of linguistic domains (lexicon, morpho-syntax, phonology), a wide range of linguistic tasks, including production and comprehension, and a wide range of multilingual populations, varying in proficiency and language similarity. 

Funded by Israel Science Foundation (ISF) grant (1341/14) with Dr. Hamutal Kreiner. Language shifts - The influence of brief exposure to the non-target language on bilingual performance.

 Recent relevant papers:

  • Kreiner, H., & Degani, T., (2015). Tip-of-the-tongue in a second language: The effects of brief first-language exposure and long-term use. Cognition, 137, 106- 14.

  • Degani, T., Kreiner, H., Ataria, H. & Khateeb, F. (accepted). The impact of brief exposure to the second language on native language production: Global or item specific? Applied Psycholinguistics (~pp. 1-50). 


              Vocabulary learning

What affects learning the vocabulary of a foreign language? Who learns better? What words are easier to learn? What instructional methods improve learning and why? 

a. Item and learner characteristics - Many people around the world face the challenge of learning additional languages, and vocabulary learning constitutes a basic component of such learning. Thus, our goal here is to better understand the interactions between what the learner brings with him (individual characteristics) and the qualities of the to-be-learned words (item characteristics). We focus in particular on the language background of the learner and the cognitive resources available to him, and on the mapping of the to-be-learned words onto the other languages of the learner. Our studies test vocabulary learning among a diverse set of populations including children and adults, monolinguals and multilinguals, with and without language difficulty.

b. How multilinguals approach language learning – we study if and how prior linguistic knowledge influences subsequent language learning. We test whether multilinguals differ from monolinguals in vocabulary learning. We ask what makes vocabulary learning better for multilingual speakers, and test these questions in the lab.

Funded by an FP7 Marie Curie Career Integration Grant: Ambiguity in Foreign Language Vocabulary Learning & a Language Learning Small Grants Program: The Consequences of Form Overlap for Vocabulary Learning

 Recent relevant papers:

  • Hirosh, Z., & Degani, T. (2018). Direct and indirect effects of multilingualism on novel language learning: An integrative review. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 25, 892-916.
  • Degani, T., & Goldberg, M. (2019). How individual differences affect learning of translation-ambiguous vocabulary? Language Learning, 69, 600-651.
  • Tokowicz, N., & Degani, T. (2015). Learning second language vocabulary: Insights from laboratory studies. In John W. Schwieter (Ed.) The Cambridge handbook of bilingual processing. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.