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Cognitive shift in the bilingual mind: Spatial concepts in Korean–English bilinguals*

  • HAE IN PARK (a1) and NICOLE ZIEGLER (a2)

Recent research shows that speakers with different first languages perceive various cognitive domains in different ways and that bilinguals’ conceptualization patterns are affected by the concepts of both languages. The present study extends Choi and Bowerman (1991) by examining the categorizations of spatial concepts in adult Korean–English bilinguals. Using similarity judgments, the study compares the conceptualization patterns of “put in” and “put on” by Korean–English bilinguals and Korean and English monolinguals. Results indicated significant differences between the monolingual and bilingual groups, demonstrating the process of convergence of the two languages in the bilingual mind. Regression analyses also revealed that bilinguals’ conceptualizations are largely influenced by English proficiency and frequency of Korean use. These findings provide evidence of conceptual restructuring, supporting the claim of previous research that bilinguals’ conceptualization patterns are susceptible to their language experience.

Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Hae In (Lauren) Park, Department of Linguistics, Georgetown University, Poulton Hall 239, 1437 37th Street NW, Washington, DC 20057-1051, USA
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This study was first developed in Cristina Sanz's Bilingualism and Cognition seminar at Georgetown University, and presented at SLRF 2011 (Iowa State University, October 2011). The authors would like to thank Cristina Sanz and Yunkyoung Kang for their insightful comments and guidance on an earlier version of this paper. We would also like to thank reviewers for their constructive comments and suggestions. However, any remaining errors are exclusively the responsibility of the authors.

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Bilingualism: Language and Cognition
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