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The Bilingual Language Interaction Network for Comprehension of Speech*



During speech comprehension, bilinguals co-activate both of their languages, resulting in cross-linguistic interaction at various levels of processing. This interaction has important consequences for both the structure of the language system and the mechanisms by which the system processes spoken language. Using computational modeling, we can examine how cross-linguistic interaction affects language processing in a controlled, simulated environment. Here we present a connectionist model of bilingual language processing, the Bilingual Language Interaction Network for Comprehension of Speech (BLINCS), wherein interconnected levels of processing are created using dynamic, self-organizing maps. BLINCS can account for a variety of psycholinguistic phenomena, including cross-linguistic interaction at and across multiple levels of processing, cognate facilitation effects, and audio-visual integration during speech comprehension. The model also provides a way to separate two languages without requiring a global language-identification system. We conclude that BLINCS serves as a promising new model of bilingual spoken language comprehension.


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Address for correspondence: Anthony Shook, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Northwestern University, 2240 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208,


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The authors would like to thank the members of the Northwestern Bilingualism and Psycholinguistics Laboratory, as well as Dr. Ping Li and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments. This research was funded in part by grant R01HD059858 to the second author, and the John D. and Lucille H. Clarke Scholarship to the first author.



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