Edited by Maya Libben, Mira Goral and Gary Libben
[Bilingual Processing and Acquisition 6] 2017
► pp. 73–102
Several theoretical accounts have been developed to describe the nature of the bilingual mental lexicon. In the last decades, functional magnetic resonance studies have provided some insight into the neural basis of lexical processing in healthy bilinguals and in bilinguals with aphasia. This chapter will discuss the bilingual mental lexicon as a complex knowledge system, which behaves dynamically as a function of various factors, including L1 and L2 proficiency level (exposure and use), psycholinguistic (semantic and phonological) characteristics of words within and across the spoken languages, learning methods, and the environment where learning happens (formal vs. informal), which in turn have an impact on the type of memory processing (implicit vs. explicit) involved in word storage. The bilingual mental lexicon is revealed as even more complex when phonological and semantic similarities and differences within and across languages are taken into account.