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Academic Paper


Title: The representation of grammatical gender in the bilingual lexicon: Evidence from Greek and German
Author: Angeliki Salamoura
Institution: Research Centre for English and Applied Linguistics University of Cambridge
Author: John N. Williams
Institution: Research Centre for English and Applied Linguistics University of Cambridge
Linguistic Field: Psycholinguistics
Subject Language: German
Greek, Modern
Abstract: This paper investigates the shared or independent nature of grammatical gender representations in the bilingual mental lexicon and the role word form similarity (as in the case of cognates) plays in these representations. In a translation task from Greek (L1) to German (L2), nouns that had the same gender in both languages were translated faster than nouns with different genders, but only when the L2 target utterance required computation of gender agreement (adjective + noun). This tendency held for both cognates and noncognates. Unlike noncognates, however, gender-incongruent cognates yielded more errors than gender-congruent cognates. These results are interpreted as evidence for a shared L1–L2 gender system with L2 cognates relying more heavily on the L1 gender value than noncognates.

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This article appears IN Bilingualism: Language and Cognition Vol. 10, Issue 3, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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