ERIC Number: EJ936002
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jul
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
Working Memory Influences on Cross-Language Activation during Bilingual Lexical Disambiguation
Areas da Luz Fontes, Ana B.; Schwartz, Ana I.
Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, v14 n3 p360-370 Jul 2011
This study investigated the role of verbal working memory on bilingual lexical disambiguation. Spanish-English bilinguals read sentences that ended in either a cognate or noncognate homonym or a control word. Participants decided whether follow-up target words were related in meaning to the sentences. On critical trials, sentences biased the subordinate meaning of a homonym and were followed by targets related to the dominant meaning. Bilinguals with high span were faster at rejecting unrelated targets when the sentences ended in a homonym, whereas bilinguals with low span were slower. Furthermore, error rates for bilinguals with low span showed cognate inhibition, while bilinguals with high span showed no effects of cross-language activation. Results demonstrated that bilinguals with high span benefit from shared lexical codes whether these converge on to a single semantic representation (cognates) or not (homonyms). Conversely, bilinguals with low span showed inhibition from the competing lexical codes, even when they converge onto a single semantic representation.
Descriptors: Sentences, Semantics, Inhibition, Short Term Memory, Semiotics, Bilingualism, Transfer of Training, Language Processing, Role, Spanish, English (Second Language), Second Language Learning, Error Patterns
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
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