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Perceptual Salience in multilingualism

Perceptual salience in multilingualism refers to the prominence or attention-grabbing quality of linguistic features, such as sounds, words, or grammatical structures, in the perception and processing of language by multilingual individuals.

Different languages may prioritize different features or cues to convey meaning, leading to variation in perceptual salience across languages. For example, phonetic distinctions that are salient in one language may be less prominent or relevant in another language.

In multilingual individuals, the perceptual salience of linguistic features may vary depending on their language proficiency and language dominance. Features that are more salient in the dominant language may influence processing even when using a non-dominant language.

Perceptual salience in one language may influence the perception and production of similar features in other languages. This can lead to transfer effects, where the salience of certain linguistic features in one language affects processing in another language.

It can also impact attentional mechanisms during language processing. Linguistic features that are more salient may attract greater attention and cognitive resources, influencing comprehension, production, and learning in multilingual contexts.

Moreover, it plays a role in language acquisition, as learners may prioritize perceptually salient features when acquiring a new language. For example, learners may initially focus on salient phonetic contrasts or high-frequency words in the input.

It is influenced by social and cultural factors, including language exposure, language attitudes, and communicative context. Features that are socially marked or culturally significant may be perceived as more salient by multilingual individuals.

Perceptual salience in multilingualism reflects the interaction between linguistic, cognitive, and socio-cultural factors in shaping the perception and processing of language across diverse linguistic contexts. Understanding perceptual salience is essential for investigating language processing mechanisms, language acquisition, and language contact phenomena in multilingual populations.