A young British Turkish Cypriot psychology student has appealed to the community for help, so she can complete important research into how the mind learns a second language.
Londoner Neriman Altiparmak is currently on a Masters’ programme in Applied Psychology at Middlesex University. Part of her study involves exploring word and picture association for Turkish-English bilingual speakers whose first language is Turkish.
Altiparmak, who graduated in psychology from the University of Kent, is researching how the mind processes words and pictures when learning a new language. The age and order that we learn words can impact on how quickly we pick up a new language, a cognitive process psychologists call the Age of Acquisition.
Explaining her study, Altiparmak told T-VINE:
“Much research has been conducted to unravel the mystery to our mind’s ability to process language cognitively. A person’s ability to process, understand and convey language is a profound mechanism, and it is important to continuously investigate how it takes place and what factors contribute to it.”
“Such research is essential, particularly in supporting individuals with language impairments,” she added.
While lots of research has been carried out into Age of Acquisition, to date most research has focussed on those speaking a single language. Much less is known about the cognitive experiences of bilinguals, which Altiparmak hopes to contribute to with her research:
“With the [UK Turkish] community’s participation and help, this study will add to the extensive research on “Age of Acquisition” and to the limited research on bilinguals, especially on Turkish and English bilinguals.”
Working closely with her supervisor Dr Ilhan Raman, the budding psychologist has created an online survey, which takes participants about 15 minutes to complete. Altiparmak explained how the survey is constructed.
“First you will be presented with various picture and word items on a blank screen, which lasts for 10 minutes, followed by a short survey. The survey is straightforward, asking questions about your language proficiency. For example, ‘At what age did you acquire English?’ and ‘What settings contributed most to your learning of this language?’”.
Altiparmak said by completing the survey, participants “will help us to grasp your level of proficiency in the language and when you acquired it, whilst the experiment on pictures and words will help reveal the significance of an Age of Acquisition effect.”
After completing the experiment, participants will receive more information about the study, which they can read at their leisure.
If you are a bilingual British Turk whose first language is Turkish, click here to take part in the survey:
The deadline to participate in this study is 30 September 2020.
For more information about Neriman Altiparmak’s study, you can contact her by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, alternatively email her supervisor Dr Ilhan Raman on email@example.com