Word representations of bilingual adults and children

  • Aris Terzopoulos

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The focus of the current thesis is to examine the linguistic and non-linguistic factors that affect bilingual performance with different language tasks. The aim of the investigation is twofold: on the one hand it examines the role of translation similarity in processing words in the two languages. Specifically, if processing of cognates (translations that share form) and non-cognates (translations with no form overlap) differ as a function of orthographic and phonological overlap between Greek and English. This pair of languages is not commonly researched in bilingual studies and the benefit of investigating them stems from their partial only similarity. Greek and English differ phonologically and orthographically although they are both alphabetic and have an etymological relationship. This makes it an interesting pair because their partial similarity in both codes is not as usual as in more commonly studied language pairs, where there is either only phonological (e.g., Chinese – English cognates) or more extensive orthographic and phonological similarity (with identical alphabets, e.g., Spanish-English cognates). By studying languages with partial similarity, it is possible to compare translations with various degrees of orthographic and phonological similarity.

The current study also examines whether adult and children bilinguals with minimal usage of the second language and tested in their first language environment would show differences in processing translations that appear in their first or second language. Of particular interest here is that two groups of adults and children are tested that have either Greek or English as their first language, which provides the opportunity to examine group effects cross-linguistically and as function of age while ensuring that language dominance and testing environment are controlled.
Date of Award2018
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorLynne Duncan (Supervisor) & Alissa Melinger (Supervisor)

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