Voluntary vs Cued Language-switching in a Sentence Context

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Though bilinguals appear to switch languages effortlessly in everyday conversations, experiments in language-switching persistently report switch costs. It has been suggest- ed that this could be caused by the use of artificial experimental setups a bilingual would never encounter in real life. The present study investigated this claim through a network task where voluntary language-switching was investigated in the context of sentences to recreate a more ecologically valid experiment. The combination of both parameters produced an elimination of costs among Arabic-English speakers, and a re- duction thereof among Spanish-English speakers, as switch costs were only absent when the latter switched into their L1. Conversely, a cued language-switching task with the Spanish-English bilinguals resulted in significant switch costs in both directions. The results evidence that switch costs can be evaded in more ecologically valid contexts and that less language control may be required under more natural circumstances.
Date of Award2022
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorMathieu Declerck (Promotor)


  • language switching
  • language control

Cite this