Published online by Cambridge University Press: 24 December 2019
This chapter reports on three experiments using the cross-modal lexical priming paradigm to explore whether interlingual homographs (i.e., words with competing semantic and overlapping orthographic representations) are activated selectively or nonselectively. The literature is somewhat controversial when it comes to the question of how bilinguals process ambiguous language. While the majority of studies suggest language nonselectivity, some research seems to indicate selective bilingual lexical access depending on the user’s linguistic needs and demands. In Experiment 1, which serves as a baseline, Spanish-English bilinguals listened to sentences in which a critical prime (e.g., trial) was associated with the English meaning of a homograph target (cases). In Experiment 2, participants were presented with homograph-translation primes (e.g., the stimulus married is presented before cases). Experiment 3, aside from the homograph-translation priming from Experiment 2, included a Spanish language mode induction variable presented at the beginning of the experiment. Results point to the effects of proficiency and priming in modulating language coactivation.