Fall 2013 Research:
Objectives: The current research will investigate the language processing strategies of Kyrgyz-Russian bilinguals. Specifically, we will study how bilingual speakers identify sounds in a novel situation, and how their performance correlates to certain biographical factors such as age of acquisition, language spoken by mother, language of schooling, etc.
Significance: The study of differences within a group of balanced bilinguals will bear on theories of the relation between maturation, neurology and the social context of language acquisition.
Why Kyrgyzstan?: Bishkek is a unique place to do such research given that many residents are fluent bilinguals and that Kyrgyz (of the Turkic family) and Russian (of the Indo-European family) are unrelated languages. Much of past research on bilingual processing has been conducted on speakers of two Indo-European languages, which share many core features, limiting generalized interpretations of findings. Kyrgyzstan allows for challenging, extending, and/or supporting the previous literature with its unique population.