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Biling (Camb Engl). 2016 Mar;19(2):264-276. Epub 2015 Apr 10.

Language co-activation and lexical selection in bimodal bilinguals: Evidence from picture-word interference.

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San Diego State University.
School of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, San Diego State University.


We used picture-word interference (PWI) to discover a) whether cross-language activation at the lexical level can yield phonological priming effects when languages do not share phonological representations, and b) whether semantic interference effects occur without articulatory competition. Bimodal bilinguals fluent in American Sign Language (ASL) and English named pictures in ASL while listening to distractor words that were 1) translation equivalents, 2) phonologically related to the target sign through translation, 3) semantically related, or 4) unrelated. Monolingual speakers named pictures in English. Production of ASL signs was facilitated by words that were phonologically related through translation and by translation equivalents, indicating that cross-language activation spreads from lexical to phonological levels for production. Semantic interference effects were not observed for bimodal bilinguals, providing some support for a post-lexical locus of semantic interference, but which we suggest may instead reflect time course differences in spoken and signed production in the PWI task.


bimodal bilingualism; cross-language activation; lexical competition; lexical selection; picture–word interference

[Available on 2017-03-01]

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