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Is it time to leave behind the Revised Hierarchical Model of bilingual language processing after fifteen years of service?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 January 2010

MARC BRYSBAERT*
Affiliation:
Ghent University, Belgium and Royal Holloway, University of London
WOUTER DUYCK
Affiliation:
Ghent University, Belgium
*
Address for correspondence: Marc Brysbaert, Department of Experimental Psychology, Ghent University, Henri Dunantlaan 2, B-9000 Gent, Belgiummarc.brysbaert@ugent.be

Abstract

The Revised Hierarchical Model (RHM) of bilingual language processing dominates current thinking on bilingual language processing. Recently, basic tenets of the model have been called into question. First, there is little evidence for separate lexicons. Second, there is little evidence for language selective access. Third, the inclusion of excitatory connections between translation equivalents at the lexical level is likely to impede word recognition. Fourth, the connections between L2 words and their meanings are stronger than proposed in RHM. And finally, there is good evidence to make a distinction between language-dependent and language-independent semantic features. It is argued that the Revised Hierarchical Model cannot easily be adapted to incorporate these challenges and that a more fruitful way forward is to start from existing computational models of monolingual language processing and see how they can be adapted for bilingual input and output, as has been done in the Bilingual Interactive Activation model.

Type
Research Notes
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010

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