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Academic Paper


Title: Cross-linguistic activation in bilingual sentence processing: The role of word class meaning
Author: Kristof Baten
Institution: Ghent University
Author: Fabrice Hofman
Institution: Ghent University
Author: Tom Loeys
Institution: Ghent University
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics; Language Acquisition; Psycholinguistics
Subject Language: Dutch
English
Abstract: This study investigates how categorial (word class) semantics influences cross-linguistic interactions when reading in L2. Previous homograph studies paid little attention to the possible influence of different word classes in the stimulus material on cross-linguistic activation. The present study examines the word recognition performance of Dutch–English bilinguals who performed a lexical decision task to word targets appearing in a sentence. To determine the influence of word class meaning, the critical words either showed a word class overlap (e.g. the homograph tree [noun], which means “step” in Dutch) or not (e.g. big [], which is a noun in Dutch meaning “piglet”). In the condition of word class overlap, a facilitation effect was observed, suggesting that both languages were active. When there was no word class overlap, the facilitation effect disappeared. This result suggests that categorial meaning affects the word recognition process of bilinguals.

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This article appears IN Bilingualism: Language and Cognition Vol. 14, Issue 3, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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