Linguistically directed attention to the temporal aspect of action events in monolingual English speakers and Chinese-English bilingual speakers with varying English proficiency

Jenn Yeu Chen, Jui Ju Su, Chao Yang Lee, Padraig G. O'Seaghdha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)


Chinese and English speakers seem to hold different conceptions of time which may be related to the different codings of time in the two languages. Employing a sentence-picture matching task, we have investigated this linguistic relativity in Chinese-English bilinguals varying in English proficiency and found that those with high proficiency performed differently from those with low proficiency. Additional monolingual English data, reported here, showed further that high-proficiency bilinguals performed similarly to the English monolinguals, suggesting that Chinese speakers' sensitivity to the time of an action event might be modifiable according to the extent of their experience with a tensed language.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-421
Number of pages9
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Apr 1



  • Chinese-English bilingualism
  • action
  • aspect
  • extended present
  • linguistic relativity
  • tense

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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