On a different plane: Cross-language effects on the conceptual representations of within-language homonyms
We examined whether bilinguals’ conceptual representation of homonyms in one language are influenced by meanings in the other. 117 Spanish-English bilinguals generated sentences for 62 English homonyms that were also cognates with Spanish and which shared at least one meaning with Spanish (e.g., plane/plano). Production probabilities for each meaning were calculated. A stepwise multiple regression revealed that whether a meaning was shared with Spanish or not accounted for a significant portion of the variance, even after entering production probabilities from published monolingual norms. (Twilley et al., 1994). Homonyms classified as highly polarized based on monolingual responses became less polarized if the less frequent meaning was shared whereas non-polarized homonyms increased in polarization if the dominant meaning was shared. Results are discussed in terms of models of bilingual conceptual and lexical representation as well as theories of ambiguity resolution.
Ana B. Areas and Ana I. Schwartz. (in press) "On a different plane: Cross-language effects on the conceptual representations of within-language homonyms" Available at: http://works.bepress.com/ana_schwartz/12