Explorations in bilingual word recognition: Cross-modal, cross-sectional, and cross-language effects
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RU Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, 24 april 2003
Promotor : Schriefers, H.J. Co-promotor : Dijkstra, A.F.J.
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This dissertation explored different aspects of bilingual word recognition. First, bilingual auditory word recognition was examined using interlingual homophones in a cross-modal priming task. Bilinguals were found to activate word candidates in both languages, but were also sensitive to sublexical differences between cross-linguistically phonologically similar words (e.g., LIEF, Dutch, and LEAF, English). Second, the development of cognitive control and automatisation with increasing proficiency was examined in a lexical decision study. Unexpectedly, cognitive control did not vary much with language proficiency. When items of the native language were present in the experiment, different proficiency groups were unable to exclude interference by that language. Proficiency differences were only reflected in slower reactions and more errors in less proficient bilinguals. Automatisation was operationalized using the Coefficient of Variability (CV) by Segalowitz, defined as the mean standard deviation of a participant's RTs divided by the mean RT. However, the observed pattern of CV was not in accordance with Segalowitz's predictions. The only observed differences in automatisation across proficiency groups were in terms of speed and error rates. Third, the effects of the second language on the mother tongue were examined using masked priming with interlingual neighbors. A brief (unconscious) presentation of the prime 'large' slowed down the word recognition response on the following target word 'LARVE', compared to an orthographically unrelated prime. Nonword primes that shared all but one letter with the target (e.g., lorve - larve) also produced interference. However, repeated presentation of the target word led to a diminished interference effect, and ultimately to no effect at all
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