Volume 73, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0169-7420
  • E-ISSN: 2213-4883
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In two experiments, we investigated how words with cross-linguistic overlap in orthography and/or phonology are recognized by bilinguals. Dutch-English bilinguals performed an English visual lexical decision task including words that are spelled and/or pronounced the same in English and Dutch. Earlier studies by Dijkstra et al (1999) and Lemhöfer & Dijkstra (2004) showed seemingly contradictory results. For example, in the first study, homophones were reacted to significantly more slowly, whereas homophones produced facilitation in the second study. However, the previous studies had problems with the frequency distribution of the stimuli and the control conditions. Therefore, the experimental design was improved in Experiments 1 and 2 in order to find out how interlingual homographs are recognized by bilinguals and what the influence is of orthographic and phonological overlap. Experiment 1, with homographs with only orthographic overlap and homographs with both orthographic and phonological overlap, partly replicated results found by Dijkstra et al. and Lemhöfer & Dijkstra, but did not show the null-effect for homographs with both orthographic and phonological overlap. Because the major difference between the three studies was stimulus list composition, Experiment 2 tested whether a change in stimulus list composition influenced the reaction times to interlingual homographs. Experiment 2 included homographs with both orthographic and phonological overlap and homophones. In this experiment, homophones produced a null-effect and the homographs were reacted to significantly more slowly than control words. The results imply that a change in stimulus list composition influences reaction times to interlingual homographs, because it can induce different types of participant strategies.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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