The influence of semantic constraints on bilingual word recognition during sentence reading

Van Assche, Eva, Drieghe, Denis, Duyck, Wouter, Welvaert, Marijke and Hartsuiker, Robert J (2011) The influence of semantic constraints on bilingual word recognition during sentence reading. Journal of Memory and Language, 64, (1), 88-107. (doi:10.1016/j.jml.2010.08.006).


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The present study investigates how semantic constraint of a sentence context modulates language-nonselective activation in bilingual visual word recognition. We recorded Dutch-English bilinguals’ eye movements while they read cognates and controls in low and high semantically constraining sentences in their second language. Early and late eye movement measures yielded cognate facilitation, both for low- and high-constraint sentences. Facilitation increased gradually as a function of cross-lingual overlap between translation equivalents. A control experiment showed that the same stimuli did not yield cognate effects in English monolingual controls, ensuring that these effects were not due to any uncontrolled stimulus characteristics. The present study supports models of bilingual word recognition with a limited role for top-down influences of semantic constraints on lexical access in both early and later stages of bilingual word recognition.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1016/j.jml.2010.08.006
ISSNs: 0749-596X (print)
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PB Modern European Languages
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Psychology > Division of Cognition
ePrint ID: 168593
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
January 2011Published
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2010 16:55
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 13:31

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