Stenger, Irina; Avgustinova, Tania

Multilingual learnability and reaction time in online Slavic intercomprehension experiments

Koeva, Svetla; Stamenov, Maksim (Ed.): Proceedings of the International Annual Conference of the Institute for Bulgarian Language, 2, Marin Drinov Academic Publishers, pp. 191-200, Sofia, Bulgaria, 2021.

Receptive multilingualism is a multidimensional and multifactorial phenomenon that crucially depends on the mutual intelligibility of closely related languages. As a strategy, it predominantly capitalizes upon a dynamic integration of linguistic, communicative, contextual, and socio-cognitive aspects. Relevant linguistic determinants (especially linguistic distances) along with recognizable extra-linguistic influences (such as attitude and exposure) have recently enjoyed increased attention in the research community. In our online (web-based) intercomprehension experiments, we have observed learning effects that appear to be empirically associated with individual cognitive skills. For this study, we tested 185 Russian subjects in a written word recognition task which essentially involved cognate guessing in Belarusian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Serbian, and Ukrainian. The subjects had to translate the stimuli presented online into their native language, i.e. Russian. To reveal implicit multilingual learnability, we correlate the obtained intercomprehension scores with the detected reaction times, taking into consideration the potential influence of the experiment rank on the reaction time too.