Bilingual and monolingual processing of competing lexical items

Viorica Marian*, Michael Spivey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

191 Scopus citations


Performance of bilingual Russian-English speakers and monolingual English speakers during auditory processing of competing lexical items was examined using eye tracking. Results revealed that both bilinguals and monolinguals experienced competition from English lexical items overlapping phonetically with an English target item (e.g., spear and speaker). However, only bilingual speakers experienced competition from Russian competitor items overlapping crosslinguistically with an English target (e.g., spear and spichki, Russian for matches). English monolinguals treated the Russian competitors as they did any other filler items. This difference in performance between bilinguals and monolinguals tested with exactly the same sets of stimuli suggests that eye movements to a crosslinguistic competitor are due to activation of the other language and to between-language competition rather than being an artifact of stimulus selection or experimental design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-193
Number of pages21
JournalApplied Psycholinguistics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • General Psychology


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