Date of Award
Master of Science (MSc)
Cognitive Science of Language
Conversational code-switching is common among bilingual speakers, in fact, we consider this routine; however, the reasons for switching and the location of this mechanism in the brain remain largely unknown. There is much to be discovered about bilingual code-switching especially in relation to autobiographical memories shared between immigrants. This study investigates the two phenomena: code-switching and autobiographical memories. The research is based on the following major theories: 1) Schrauf (2009) who said that one’s “…particular personal memories are associated with one or the other of the bilingual’s languages” (p. 26), which he called the language-specificity effect; 2) Marian & Neisser (2000) who proposed that “…memories become more accessible when language at retrieval matches language at encoding…any increase in the similarity between the linguistic environments at encoding and at retrieval should facilitate recall” (p. 361); 3) Marian & Kaushanskaya (2005), who found that “…bilinguals are more likely to code-switch to the other language when the language of encoding does not match the language of retrieval” (p. 1483). The results of this study both supported and disproved the above mentioned research, which indicate that language alone may not be the only influence on autobiographical memory recall or code-switching in elderly bilinguals. It is my belief that both phenomena stem from a higher process that is involved with cognitive control and located in the cingulate gyrus, one part of the limbic system.
Mior, Nadia M., "Conversational Code-Switching in Autobiographical Memories By Italian Immigrants" (2012). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 7147.
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