Bilingualism Reduces Native-Language Interference During Novel-Word Learning

Margarita Kaushanskaya*, Viorica Marian

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


The goal of the present work was to examine the effects of bilingualism on adults' ability to resolve cross-linguistic inconsistencies in orthography-to-phonology mappings during novel-word learning. English monolinguals and English-Spanish bilinguals learned artificially constructed novel words that overlapped with English orthographically but diverged from English phonologically. Native-language orthographic information presented during learning interfered with encoding of novel words in monolinguals but not in bilinguals. In general, bilinguals outperformed monolinguals on the word-learning task. These findings indicate that knowledge of 2 languages facilitates word learning and shields English-Spanish bilinguals from interference associated with cross-linguistic inconsistencies in letter-to-phoneme mappings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)829-835
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2009


  • bilingualism
  • interference
  • word learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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