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Gender congruency effects in Russian–Spanish and Italian–Spanish bilinguals: The role of language proximity and concreteness of words

Research paper by DANIELA PAOLIERI, FRANCISCA PADILLA, OLGA KORENEVA, LUIS MORALES, PEDRO MACIZO

Indexed on: 21 Dec '18Published on: 01 Jan '19Published in: Bilingualism (Cambridge, England)



Abstract

Previous studies have shown that bilinguals perform a production task faster when the item is gender-congruent across their two languages than when it is not. The current study aimed to explore three factors that might modulate this effect: the similarity of the gender systems, the need to retrieve grammatical gender to perform the task, and the role of a semantic variable (concreteness) in the processing of gender information. In Experiment 1, Russian–Spanish bilinguals showed gender-congruency effects whether they translated concrete nouns in isolation or in noun-phrases. In contrast, the effect was restricted to noun phrases when they translated abstract words. In Experiment 2, Italian–Spanish bilinguals showed the gender-congruency effect regardless of the translation task. However, the effect was larger with concrete nouns in comparison with abstract nouns. These results are discussed in terms of the proximity of bilingual gender systems and the relationship between semantics and gender.