Article published in:Studies of Bilingual Processing Presented to Kenneth I. Forster
Edited by Nan Jiang
[Journal of Second Language Studies 4:2] 2021
► pp. 224–244
Orthographic friends and lexical strangers in the L2 lexicon
Some recent studies demonstrated a lexical processing difference between L1 and L2. In a lexical decision task, masked word primes had an inhibitory or no effect on the identification of their neighbor targets (e.g., reason-SEASON) in L1, but they produced a faciliatory priming effect in L2. The present study attempted to replicate this finding with materials that were developed with familiarity, length, and frequency considerations. Native and nonnative speakers of English were tested on 40 English targets that were preceded by prime words that were their neighbors or orthographically unrelated. The results replicated previous findings. Nonnative speakers showed a significant priming effect of 63 ms but native speakers produced a nonsignificant effect of 11 ms. This finding suggested that words in the L2 lexicon seemed to recognize and interact with each other only on the basis of orthographic overlap (thus orthographic friends). They did not seem to do so on the basis of lexical status (thus lexical strangers), i.e., showing little lexical interaction or competition. Current explanations of this intriguing L1-L2 difference are discussed.
Keywords: L2 word recognition, orthographic priming, prime lexicality effect, lexical competition, masked priming
Published online: 06 May 2021
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