EUROSLA Yearbook: Volume 12 (2012)
  • ISSN 1568-1491
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9749
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The processing of homonyms is complex considering homonyms have many lexical properties. For instance, train contains semantic (a locomotive/to instruct) and syntactic (noun/verb) properties, each affecting interpretation. Previous studies find homonym processing influenced by lexical frequency (Duffy et al. 1988) as well as syntactic and semantic context (Folk & Morris 2003; Swinney 1979; Tanenhaus et al. 1979). This cross-modal lexical-decision study investigates second language (L2) effects on homonym processing in the first language (L1). Participants were monolingual English speakers and Canadian English/French bilinguals who acquired L2 French at distinct periods. The early bilinguals revealed no significant differences compared to monolinguals (p = .219) supporting the Reordered Access Model (Duffy et al. 1988). However, the late bilinguals revealed longer reaction times, syntactic priming effects (p < .001), and lexical frequency effects (p < .001), suggesting a heightened sensitivity to surface cues influencing homonym processing in the L1 due to a newly-acquired L2 (Cook 2003).


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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