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Cognate effects in intra-sentential codeswitching in trilinguals - evidence from a read-aloud task


  • Annika Milena Schimpff

Summary, in English

This thesis examines the effect of cognates on codeswitching in planned speech production in trilinguals, which has previously been unexplored. Previous studies on cognates and codeswitching have primarily focused on cognate facilitation effects in spontaneous speech in bilinguals. While experimental studies have gradually acknowledged the importance of investigating codeswitching in a sentence context, much research has focused on single word switches. This study focuses on
switched NPs preceded by verb cognates (shared between two or three languages) using a readaloud task to explore whether different cognate status affects switching difficulty in 30 trilingual speakers of German, English and Danish. Three cognate and a control condition were established and compared with each other. Drawing on Li and Gollan´s (2018a) study examining switches in a read-aloud task, the present study coded production for intrusions and hesitation markers as indicators of switching difficulty. The study also examined speech-error corrections as a measure of degree of speech-monitoring. Issues of language dominance and age of acquisition were also considered as potential factors influencing codeswitching difficulty in trilinguals. The results show that the presence of verbs with different cognate status prior to switches affect production. Triple cognates appeared to facilitate- or at least lower processing difficulty of switches. In contrast, double cognates between German and English caused significantly more hesitation phenomena and intrusions. Further, noncognates also led to switching difficulty. Speech-monitoring was found to be strongest in the control condition, yet focusing on corrections of intrusion errors, the cognate conditions elicited faster detection and correction. Overall, the study provides grounds for discussion of how cognates affect levels of language activation and language selection in trilinguals, as well as the theoretical frameworks of switching patterns and more general models of bi-/multilingual language processing.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Master's degree (two years)


  • Languages and Literatures


  • cognates
  • codeswitching
  • read-aloud task
  • language processing
  • language activation
  • speech monitoring
  • planned speech production


  • Marianne Gullberg (Professor)