Professional Language Learning and the Dynamics of Cross-Linguistic Interactions in Bilingual Mental Lexicon


Bilingualism is an ability to communicate freely in two languages. Bilingual professional language learning implies acquiring specific knowledge of the two languages for professional purposes – those connected with language studies and/or language teaching. The most obvious outcome of bilingual professional language learning concerns the increase of proficiency revealed in a wide repertoire of linguistic knowledge, skills and abilities connected with speech perception and speech production. These changes are measured with the help of common testing techniques and estimated by generally accepted assessment systems. However, besides the outward changes, bilingual professional language learning is bound to result in certain inward changes that concern particular processes at deeper levels of language storage and processing – those represented in one’s mental lexicon. In our report we present an experimental research aimed at revealing how the two languages interact in bilingual mental lexicon in the context of their professional learning. The research was carried out with Komi-Permyak-Russian native speakers who receive professional higher education as future teachers of both languages (Komi-Permyak and Russian); the methods of free association experiment and directed chained association experiment were applied. Comparison of the experimental data received from first/second-year students and graduate students proved that professional simultaneous learning of the two languages determines considerable changes in the character of cross-linguistic interactions. In particular, changes in general frequency of interactions, their direction and specific type were revealed. The obtained results are discussed in the frameworks of the current dynamic theory of bilingualism and bilingual mental lexicon.

Author Information
Yuliya Leshchenko, Perm State Humanitarian-Pedagogical University, Russia
Tatyana Ostapenko, Perm State Humanitarian-Pedagogical University, Russia

Paper Information
Conference: ECLL2017
Stream: Bilingualism

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon