Crosslinguistic transfer as category adjustment: Modeling conceptual color shift in bilingualism

AbstractWe present a general framework for capturing categorical crosslinguistic transfer effects - the influences of linguistic and conceptual categories in a bilingual speaker's languages on each other. By formulating the phenomenon as an instance of cognitive category shift, we achieve a general method for investigating the extent and causes of crosslinguistic transfer in terms of a category similarity space and a set of weighting factors. We apply the model to the well-understood domain of color, formulating transfer as the modulation of conceptual color categories in one language on those of the other language. We analyze the components of the model that predict salient aspects of human data on an observed transfer effect in a range of languages.

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