Journal of Psycholinguistic Research

, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 103–118 | Cite as

Language Switching in the Production of Phrases

  • Andrzej Tarlowski
  • Zofia Wodniecka
  • Anna Marzecová
Open Access


The language switching task has provided a useful insight into how bilinguals produce language. So far, however, the studies using this method have been limited to lexical access. The present study provides empirical evidence on language switching in the production of simple grammar structures. In the reported experiment, Polish–English unbalanced bilinguals switched between their L1 and L2 while describing pictures of ongoing and completed actions with simple SV progressive and perfective phrases. The results show asymmetrical switching costs for progressive phrases and symmetrical switching costs with reversed dominance for perfective phrases. These findings parallel those obtained in tasks requiring the production of single words, although the present study is the first in which the same bilingual participants display different patterns of switching costs depending on the characteristics of utterances they produce. These results can be explained using recently developed models of bilingual language control.


Bilingualism Language switching Grammar production Lexical access 



This Project was financed from the CONSOLIDER-INGENIO 2010 Programme CSD 2007-00012 and Polish Ministry of Science and Education Grant H01F03829 and a subsidy from Foundation for Polish Science to Zofia Wodniecka and Anna Marzecová. The authors thank Marianna Boros and Aleksandra Szyper for their help in data collection and Mikel Santesteban for comments on the manuscript.

Open Access

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and the source are credited.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrzej Tarlowski
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zofia Wodniecka
    • 3
  • Anna Marzecová
    • 3
  1. 1.The Bilingual Mind GroupUniversity of the Basque CountryVitoria-GasteizSpain
  2. 2.Faculty of PsychologyUniversity of Finance and ManagementWarsawPoland
  3. 3.Institute of PsychologyJagiellonian UniversityKrakówPoland

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