Repetition reduction during word and concept overlap in bilinguals

Tuan Q. Lam*, Viorica Marian

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


In natural conversation, speakers often mention the same referents multiple times. While repeated referents are produced with less prominence than non-repeated referents, it is unclear whether prominence reduction is due to repetition of concepts, words, or a combination of the two. In the current study, we dissociate these sources of repetition by examining bilingual speakers, who have more than one word for the same concept across their two languages. Three groups of Korean-English bilinguals (balanced, English-dominant, Korean-dominant) performed an event description task involving repetition of referents within a single language (i.e., repetition of word and concept) or across languages (i.e., repetition of concept only). While balanced bilinguals reduced prominence both within and across languages, unbalanced bilinguals only reduced prominence when repetition occurred within a language. These patterns suggest that the degree to which words and concepts are linked within a speaker's language system determines the source of repetition reduction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)88-107
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Memory and Language
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015


  • Bilingualism
  • Concept
  • Lexical access
  • Prominence
  • Repetition
  • Speech production

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Artificial Intelligence


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