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Translation equivalents facilitate lexical access in very young bilinguals

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 December 2017

Concordia University
Concordia University
Concordia University
Université de Genève
San Diego State University
Address for correspondence: Diane Poulin-Dubois, 7141 Sherbrooke Street West, PY Building 170-17, H4B 1R6, Montréal, Québec, Canada,


The present study investigated the impact of translation equivalents (TE) on lexical processing in a sample of 36 French–English bilingual toddlers at 22-months of age. Children were administered the Computerized Comprehension Task (CCT; Friend & Keplinger, 2003) in each language and parents completed the MacArthur Bates Communicative Development Inventory (CDI) in both English and French across two visits (one language per visit). Correct trials on the CCT were identified and classified into one of two categories: words with a known TE as reported on the CDI and words without a known TE on the CDI. Reaction times for correct trials were averaged and compared for each of the bilinguals’ languages. Interestingly, children were faster to retrieve words with a known TE on the CDI than words with no known TE. The present findings suggest that the translation facilitation effects reported in adult bilinguals are also present in very young bilinguals.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2017 

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*This research was supported by NICHD under award #R01HD468058 and does not necessarily represent the views of the National Institutes of Health. Diane Poulin-Dubois was also funded by a Discovery grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (#2003-2013). The authors wish to thank Naomi Azar, Cristina Crivello, Katherine Gittins, Monyka Rodrigues and Lyakout Mohamed Said for their help with data collection.


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