Cross talk between native and second languages: Partial Activation of an Irrelevant Lexicon

Michael J. Spivey*, Viorica Marian

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

240 Scopus citations

Abstract

Bilingualism provides a unique opportunity for exploring hypotheses about how the human brain encodes language. For example, the "input switch" theory states that bilinguals can deactivate one language module while using the other. A new measure of spoken language comprehension, headband-mounted eyetracking, allows a firm test of this theory. When given spoken instructions to pick up an object, in a monolingual session, late bilinguals looked briefly at a distractor object whose name in the irrelevant language was initially phonetically similar to the spoken word more often than they looked at a control distractor object. This result indicates some overlap between the two languages in bilinguals, and provides support for parallel, interactive accounts of spoken word recognition in general.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-284
Number of pages4
JournalPsychological Science
Volume10
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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