Edited by Irina A. Sekerina, Lauren Spradlin and Virginia Valian
[Studies in Bilingualism 57] 2019
► pp. 117–130
Chapter 8. Investigating grammatical processing in bilinguals
The case of morphological priming
In this article we discuss methods for investigating grammatical processing in bilinguals. We will present a methodological approach that relies on: (i) linguistic theory (in our case, morphology) for the construction of experimental materials; (ii) a design that allows for direct (within-experiment, within-participant, and within-item) comparisons of the critical conditions; and (iii) data analysis techniques that make both linear and non-linear gradient effects visible. We review recent studies of masked morphological priming in bilinguals in which the application of these methodological principles revealed highly selective interactions of age of acquisition (and the native/non-native contrast) with the linguistic distinction between inflection and derivation. We believe that such considerations are not only relevant for grammatical processing experiments, but also for studying bilingualism, and its potential cognitive advantages, more generally.