Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

New from Oxford University Press!


Evolutionary Syntax

By Ljiljana Progovac

This book "outlines novel and testable hypotheses, contains extensive examples from many different languages" and is "presented in accessible language, with more technical discussion in footnotes."

New from Cambridge University Press!


The Making of Vernacular Singapore English

By Zhiming Bao

This book "proposes a new theory of contact-induced grammatical restructuring" and "offers a new analytical approach to New English from a formal or structural perspective."

Academic Paper

Title: Lexical access in bilingual speakers: What's the (hard) problem?
Author: Alfonso Caramazza
Institution: Harvard University
Linguistic Field: Cognitive Science; Psycholinguistics; Semantics
Abstract: Models of bilingual speech production generally assume that translation equivalent lexical nodes share a common semantic representation. Though this type of architecture is highly desirable on both theoretical and empirical grounds, it could create difficulty at the point of lexical selection. If two translation equivalent lexical nodes are activated to roughly equal levels every time that their shared semantic representation becomes activated, the lexical selection mechanism should find it difficult to "decide" between the two (the "hard problem") - yet in some cases bilinguals benefit from the presence of a translation equivalent "competitor." In this article, we review three models that have been proposed as solutions to the hard problem. Each of these models has difficulty accounting for the full range of findings in the literature but we suggest that these shortcomings stem from their acceptance of the assumption that lexical selection is competitive. We argue that without this assumption each proposal is able to provide a full account of the empirical findings. We conclude by suggesting that the simplest of these proposals should be rejected before more complicated models are considered.


This article appears IN Bilingualism: Language and Cognition Vol. 9, Issue 2, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

Add a new paper
Return to Academic Papers main page
Return to Directory of Linguists main page