Simulating Spanish-English Code-Switching: El Modelo Está Generating Code-Switches

Chara Tsoukala, Stefan Frank, Antal van den Bosch, Jorge Valdés Kroff, Mirjam Broersma

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review


Multilingual speakers are able to switch from one language to the other ({``}code-switch{''}) between or within sentences. Because the underlying cognitive mechanisms are not well understood, in this study we use computational cognitive modeling to shed light on the process of code-switching. We employed the Bilingual Dual-path model, a Recurrent Neural Network of bilingual sentence production (Tsoukala et al., 2017), and simulated sentence production in simultaneous Spanish-English bilinguals. Our first goal was to investigate whether the model would code-switch without being exposed to code-switched training input. The model indeed produced code-switches even without any exposure to such input and the patterns of code-switches are in line with earlier linguistic work (Poplack,1980). The second goal of this study was to investigate an auxiliary phrase asymmetry that exists in Spanish-English code-switched production. Using this cognitive model, we examined a possible cause for this asymmetry. To our knowledge, this is the first computational cognitive model that aims to simulate code-switched sentence production.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-29
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the 41st Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • bilingualism
  • code-switching
  • cognitive modeling
  • neural network
  • sentence production


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