Volume 8, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1871-1340
  • E-ISSN: 1871-1375
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This study investigates the depth of lexical knowledge in first language (L1) speakers and second language (L2) learners in reference to hierarchical word knowledge. Eighty-eight participants took part in a lexical decision task that assessed their speed and accuracy in recognizing words and nonwords. Prime and target pairs in the lexical decision task were related words (hyponynm to hypernym and hypernym to hyponym), unrelated words, or word to nonwords. The findings indicate bidirectional priming in L1 participants such that associated pairs (hyponynm to hypernym and hypernym to hyponym) were processed faster than unrelated words. For L2 participants, unidirectional priming effects were reported for the hyponynm to hypernym condition only. These findings provide evidence that hierarchical lexical networks characterize L1 lexicons but not L2 networks. Such findings provide important information about the organizational properties of L1 and L2 lexicons.


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