Bilingual homonym disambiguation at the discourse level

Yvette Aguilar Baca, University of Texas at El Paso

Abstract

The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of global context and local context on the time course of activation of cognate homonyms for bilingual readers. Of interest was whether meaning frequency, context, and cross-language activation modulated the time course of activation of the subordinate meaning of cognate homonyms. Also, whether the subordinate bias effect would be altered or even eliminated by the combined influence of such contextual factors and cross-language activation. Eye movements of Spanish-English bilinguals were measured using an eye-tracking device while they read English paragraphs. The paragraphs contained cognate homonyms (e.g. novel/novela), cognate non-homonyms (e.g. plastic/plástico), non-cognate homonyms (e.g. slip), or non-cognate non-homonyms (e.g. hook) all in English. The topic of the paragraph (global context) was either biasing the subordinate meaning of the homonym or was neutral. The sentence where the target word was embedded (local context) had a preceding region that was either biasing the subordinate meaning or was neutral. Analyses revealed that that the combination of strong, contextual support and cross-language activation of the subordinate meaning resulted in the reduction of processing costs of cognate homonyms. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, General|Psychology, Experimental|Psychology, Cognitive

Recommended Citation

Baca, Yvette Aguilar, "Bilingual homonym disambiguation at the discourse level" (2011). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1503706.
http://digitalcommons.utep.edu/dissertations/AAI1503706

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