In this chapter, we view the recent evidence on the bilingual lexicon that points to a dynamic view of lexical processes. In contrast to earlier assumptions that words in the bilingual’s two languages were represented and processed independently, the findings of studies with both adults and children demonstrate that words in both languages are activated in parallel. Critically, the co-activation of the two languages does not depend on their structural similarity but on the very presence of the two languages themselves. The consequences of cross-language activation can be seen in language processing, not only from the first language (L1) to the second (L2) but also from the L2 to the L1. They can also be seen in the recruitment of cognitive resources in response to the demands of language processing and in the way that words come to influence language processes at the level of the grammar. From this perspective, the lexicon is far more than a collection of words but a lens into the dynamics of bilingualism.
2.Bilingual language co-activation
2.1Adaptations to each language
2.2Adaptations to context
3.Changes to the lexicon as a function of bilingualism
4.Links between the lexicon and syntax
5.Consequences of bilingualism across the lifespan
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