An investigation of the individual differences in cognitive factors that contribute to bilingual lexical disambiguation

Ana B Areas da Luz Fontes, University of Texas at El Paso

Abstract

The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of working memory capacity, access to subordinate meanings of L1 homonyms and degree of cross-language activation on the access to subordinate meanings of L2 homonyms. In Experiment 1, Spanish-English bilinguals completed a word recognition task which assessed how quickly and accurately they accessed subordinate meanings of English homonyms that were either noncognates (e.g. fast/ rápido) or cognates (e.g. letter/letra) with Spanish. In Experiment 2, another group of Spanish-English bilinguals read sentences while having their eye-movements recorded for measures of lexical access. On the critical trials, sentences contained a homonym that was either a noncognate (e.g. fast/rápido) or cognate with Spanish (e.g. letter/letra). The context preceding the target word (i.e. homonym) was either biased to the subordinate meaning or neutral. General analyses from Experiments 1 and 2 showed that access to subordinate meanings of cognate homonyms was facilitated compared to access to subordinate meanings of noncognate homonyms. Analyses of the individual differences factors revealed that access to subordinate meanings of L1 homonyms was the most consistent predictor of access to subordinate meanings of L2 homonyms. These findings are discussed in terms of how these individual differences should be taken into account to better model the dynamics of bilingual lexical disambiguation. ^

Subject Area

Language, Linguistics|Psychology, Cognitive

Recommended Citation

Areas da Luz Fontes, Ana B, "An investigation of the individual differences in cognitive factors that contribute to bilingual lexical disambiguation" (2010). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3433517.
http://digitalcommons.utep.edu/dissertations/AAI3433517

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