Edited by Luna Filipović and Martin Pütz
[Human Cognitive Processing 44] 2014
► pp. 309–332
Set in the context of bilingualism in Māori and English, this chapter discusses the interpretation of novel English compounds as right or left-headed. The aim is to report evidence of structural transfer in bilinguals on the level of word formation. In accordance with Grosjean (2012), this study provides evidence for structural transfer when bilinguals act in a monolingual mode. The occurrence of transfer in monolingual situations is also further empirical proof for claims that the languages of a bilingual are constantly activated in a speaker’s mind (Kecskes 2006). Māori–English bilinguals show a significantly higher rate of left-headed interpretations of novel English compounds than English monolinguals, which indicates a flexible structural base for novel meaning assignment in bilinguals.
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