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Academic Paper


Title: Acquisition of compound words in Chinese–English bilingual children: Decomposition and cross-language activation
Author: Chenxi Cheng
Institution: University of Maryland
Author: Min Wang
Institution: University of Maryland
Author: Charles A Perfetti
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics; Language Acquisition; Psycholinguistics
Subject Language: Chinese, Mandarin
English
Abstract: This study investigated compound processing and cross-language activation in a group of Chinese–English bilingual children, and they were divided into four groups based on the language proficiency levels in their two languages. A lexical decision task was designed using compound words in both languages. The compound words in one language contained two free constituent morphemes that mapped onto the desired translations in the other language, such as tooth(牙) brush(刷).Two types of compound words were included: transparent (e.g., toothbrush) and opaque (e.g., deadline) words. Results showed that children were more accurate in judging semantically transparent compounds in English. The lexicality of translated compounds in Chinese affected lexical judgment accuracy on English compounds, independent of semantic transparency and language proficiency. Implications for compound processing and bilingual lexicon models are discussed.

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This article appears IN Applied Psycholinguistics Vol. 32, Issue 3, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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