The effects of language immersion on the bilingual lexicon
Evidence from Chinese-English bilinguals
Previous studies have consistently found an asymmetry where priming in the L1-L2 direction is stronger than that in the L2-L1 direction. However, some studies showed that an L2 immersion environment could attenuate bilingual speakers’ access to the L1 and result in a ‘bilingual disadvantage’. This study investigated how language immersion modulates the priming effects of late adult bilingual speakers. We compared late Chinese-English bilingual speakers with high L2 (English) proficiency in an L1 environment and those in an L2 immersion environment. Both semantic and translation priming in same-language and cross-language conditions were investigated. The results showed no ‘bilingual disadvantage’ of the immersed participants. The priming asymmetry was weakened for the immersed participants who were more comparable in their reaction time to different language conditions. Both semantic and translation priming were found in L1-L2 and L2-L1 directions, suggesting that both types of priming are similar in nature in the bilingual lexicon.
Keywords: bilingual lexicon, language immersion, priming, Chinese, English
Published online: 04 May 2016
Cited by 2 other publications
Matsuki, Eriko, Yasushi Hino & Debra Jared
Xue, Jin, Xiaolan Hu, Rong Yan, Hong Wang, Xi Chen & Miao Li
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