Working memory influences on cross-language activation during bilingual lexical disambiguation
This study investigated the role of verbal working memory on bilingual lexical disambiguation. Spanish-English bilinguals with low and high digit span read sentences in their second language ending in a cognate homonym (novel), noncognate homonym (fast), cognate (piano) or non-cognate (pencil). The dominant meanings of cognate homonyms were shared across languages while subordinate meanings were unique to the second language. Participants decided whether follow-up targets were related in meaning to the sentence. On critical trials sentences biased the subordinate meaning of the homonym and targets were related to the dominant meaning (novel – BOOK; fast – SPEED), forcing rejection of dominant meanings shared across the two languages. Performance patterns for both groups reflected cross-language activation of cognate meanings. The nature of these effects was facilitative for high-span participants whereas they were inhibitory in nature for low-span participants. Results are discussed in terms of theories of bilingual working memory and lexical disambiguation.
Ana B. Areas Da Luz Fontes and Ana I. Schwartz. 2009. "Working memory influences on cross-language activation during bilingual lexical disambiguation" The SelectedWorks of Ana I Schwartz
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/ana_schwartz/13