Letter detection for homographs with different meanings in different language texts Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Tests of inter-lingual homographs that have different meanings across two languages support models postulating initial non-selective access to competing language representations, e.g. Bilingual Interactive Activation (BIA) model. Most such research assessed inter-lingual homographs in the absence of connected text. Here a letter detection paradigm was used that required subjects to detect letters in words in connected text. Prior work with this paradigm suggested that readers respond to only one interpretation of an intra-lingual homograph when detecting letters. Three experiments described here indicate that letter detection patterns to inter-lingual homographs are similar, i.e. detection reflects only a context appropriate interpretation. However, the demonstration that text role, text cohesiveness and bilingual fluency affect inter-lingual letter detection (Experiments 1 and 2), and that word role affects detection even though target frequency is constant across inter-lingual meanings (Experiment 3) indicates that selectivity is in response to post-lexical processes. Thus, results are seen as compatible with tenets of the BIA model.

publication date

  • December 2004