Where the Eye Takes Youthe Processing of Gender in Codeswitching

  1. Raquel Fernández Fuertes 1
  2. Tamara Gómez Carrero 1
  3. Alejandro Martínez 1
  1. 1 Universidad de Valladolid

    Universidad de Valladolid

    Valladolid, España

    ROR https://ror.org/01fvbaw18

RAEL: revista electrónica de lingüística aplicada

ISSN: 1885-9089

Year of publication: 2019

Volume: 18

Issue: 1

Pages: 1-17

Type: Article

More publications in: RAEL: revista electrónica de lingüística aplicada


Codeswitching is a powerful phenomenon to explore how the properties of the two language systems interact in the bilingual mind. This study focuses on this language contact situation by analyzing eye-tracking data recorded from a group of L1 Spanish – L2 English bilinguals. More specifically, and given that Spanish-English bilingual communities have been shown to exhibit an overwhelming tendency to produce determiner-noun switches (la window / the ventana), we formally explore the directionality of the switch and the type of implicit gender agreement mechanism in the case of Spanish determiner switches (la/el window // el/la book). Our results show that Spanish determiner switches as well as gender non-congruent Spanish determiner switches take significantly longer to process. We interpret these results in the light of formal proposals on gender representation and of previous empirical studies and argue that the strength of grammatical gender in the participants’ L1 determines the switching processing costs.

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