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3 - Bilingual Lexical Access

from Part I - Theoretical and Methodological Considerations

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 December 2019

Roberto R. Heredia
Affiliation:
Texas A & M University
Anna B. Cieślicka
Affiliation:
Texas A & M University
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Summary

Bilingual ambiguity can arise when a word form is shared across languages but the meanings are different in each language (e.g., the word pie means foot in Spanish). The way bilinguals process this ambiguity informs us about general bilingual language processing. Do bilinguals activate both meanings of an ambiguous word or is only the meaning in the contextually relevant language activated? The current review presents studies that have explored cross-language ambiguity and the factors influencing bilingual ambiguity resolution. It examines how interactions of language context, frequency, task demands, and/or individual differences such as proficiency and executive control influence cross-language ambiguity effects. The review concludes that the bilingual language system is organized in an integrated lexicon that is accessed language-nonselectively but that it is important to take into account all of the possibly interacting factors.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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