A review of control processes and their locus in language switching


  • Declerck Mathieu
  • Philipp Andrea M.

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Language switching has been one of the main tasks to investigate language control, a process that restricts bilingual language processing to the target language. In the current review, we discuss the How (i.e., mechanisms) and Where (i.e., locus of these mechanisms) of language control in language switching. As regards the mechanisms of language control, we describe several empirical markers of language switching and their relation to inhibition, as a potentially important mechanism of language control. From this overview it becomes apparent that some, but not all, markers indicate the occurrence of inhibition during language switching and, thus, language control. In a second part, we turn to the potential locus of language control and the role of different processing stages (concept level, lemma level, phonology, orthography, and outside language processing). Previous studies provide evidence for the employment of several of these processing stages during language control so that either a complex control mechanism involving different processing stages and/or multiple loci of language control have to be assumed. Based on the discussed results, several established and new theoretical avenues are considered.

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