Inner speech and bilingual autobiographical memory: a Polish-Danish cross-cultural study.
Thirty years after fleeing from Poland to Denmark, 20 immigrants were enlisted in a study of bilingual autobiographical memory. Ten "early immigrators" averaged 24 years old at the time of immigration, and ten "late immigrators" averaged 34 years old at immigration. Although all 20 had spent 30 years in Denmark, early immigrators reported more current inner speech behaviours in Danish, whereas late immigrators showed more use of Polish. Both groups displayed proportionally more numerous autobiographical retrievals that were reported as coming to them internally in Polish (vs Danish) for the decades prior to immigration and more in Danish (vs Polish) after immigration. We propose a culture- and language-specific shaping of semantic and conceptual stores that underpins autobiographical and world knowledge.