Cross-linguistic similarity and task demands in Japanese-English bilingual processing
Allen, David B. and Conklin, Kathy (2013) Cross-linguistic similarity and task demands in Japanese-English bilingual processing. PLoS ONE, 8 (8). e72631/1-e72631/14. ISSN 1932-6203
Even in languages that do not share script, bilinguals process cognates faster than matched noncognates in a range of tasks. The current research more fully explores what underpins the cognate ‘advantage’ in different script bilinguals (Japanese-English). To do this, instead of the more traditional binary cognate/noncognate distinction, the current study uses continuous measures of phonological and semantic overlap, L2 (second language) proficiency and lexical variables (e.g., frequency). An L2 picture naming (Experiment 1) revealed a significant interaction between phonological and semantic similarity and demonstrates that degree of overlap modulates naming times. In lexical decision (Experiment 2), increased phonological similarity (e.g., bus/basu/vs. radio/rajio/) lead to faster response times. Interestingly, increased semantic similarity slowed response times in lexical decision. The studies also indicate how L2 proficiency and lexical variables modulate L2 word processing. These findings are explained in terms of current models of bilingual lexical processing.
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