News of the College February 2005

Psychology professor receives National Science Foundation grant to study bilingualism

Enriqueta Canseco-Gonzalez, associate professor of psychology, has been awarded a Minority Career Advancement Award grant from the National Science Foundation to study how bilingual individuals
recognize words.

In her study, Canseco-Gonzalez intends to explore the nature of word recognition of bilinguals and whether recognition of words is limited to the language context of a sentence. "When a Spanish-English bilingual hears the sentence 'Click on the beaker,' does he or she only activate English words compatible with the initial phonemes of the word 'beaker' (such as 'beetle'), or does the person also activate compatible Spanish words as well (such as 'bigote,' or 'mustache,' pronounced 'bee-goat-ay')?"

Canseco-Gonzalez believes the study to be of immense importance to society by increasing our understanding of bilingualism. She suggests it will help policy makers in places like California in making decisions regarding such diverse areas as education, language, workplace policy, immigration, and human services. "[The work will] aid educators designing foreign language curriculum to formulate the most effective teaching environment," she says. End of Article

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Reed Magazine February 2005
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