image of Language bias and proficiency effects on cross-language activation
  • ISSN 1879-9264
  • E-ISSN 1879-9272
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Recent research proposes that language bias and proficiency modulate cross-language activation in comprehension and production, but it is unclear how they operate and whether they interact. This study investigates whether stress differences between Spanish-English cognates (, final-syllable stress in Spanish) affect how native-English second-language-Spanish bilinguals recognize Spanish words ( “subject/matter,” second-syllable stress in Spanish). In a Spanish-English eye-tracking experiment (and parallel production task), participants heard/produced trisyllabic Spanish targets with second-syllable stress () and saw four orthographic words, including the target and a Spanish-English cognate competitor. Cross-language activation was examined by manipulating the stress of the cognate in English. In comprehension, English cognates with the same stress as the Spanish target ( vs ) were predicted to cause more cross-language interference than English cognates with a different stress ( “bunk bed,” vs ), but the reverse pattern was expected in production. Participants were assigned to a Spanish-bias condition (20% of English (filler) items), or an English-bias condition (65% of English (filler) items). Results indicate that English cognates with the same stress as the Spanish target interfered with the recognition of the Spanish target only in the English-bias condition (but facilitated its production), while increasing Spanish proficiency helped reduce this cross-linguistic interference.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keywords: mode; production; stress; comprehension; bilingualism
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