The multilingual lexicon

Ton Dijkstra
Table of contents

Modern media, like e-mail and internet, allow us to communicate with language users from all over the world after just one button press. As was already prophecized by the Canadian linguist Marshall McLuhan in 1962, our world is becoming more and more like a ‘global village’ in which it is not self-evident that a person speaks only one language. For the exchange of cultural and scientific knowledge, and for doing business abroad, people are pressed to speak more than one language and therefore become multilingual. We are witnessing an increase in the interest for multilingualism, which seems justified because there are probably more multilinguals in the world as a whole than monolinguals. Note there are about 200 independent states in the world and about 6800 living languages. In other words, there are more than 30 times as many languages than countries. If more than one language is spoken in a country, many inhabitants of that country will be multilingual themselves, because otherwise a Babylonian confusion of tongues would rule.

Full-text access is restricted to subscribers. Log in to obtain additional credentials. For subscription information see Subscription & Price.


Akker, E. & A. Dijkstra
(in preparation). Not just for cognates: Interlingual homophone effects on native language processing.
Altarriba, J., J.F. Kroll, A. Sholl & K. Rayner
1996The influence of lexical and conceptual constraints on reading mixed-language sentences: Evidence from eye-fixation and naming times. Memory & Cognition 24: 477–492. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Bialystok, E.
2001Bilingualism in development: Language literacy, and cognition. Cambridge University Press DOI logo  BoPGoogle Scholar
Bialystok, E., F.I.M. Craik & M. Freedman
2007Bilingualism as a protection against the onset of symptoms of dementia. Neuropsychologia 45: 459–464. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Bialystok, E., F.I.M. Craik, R. Klein & M. Viswanathan
2004Bilingualism, aging, and cognitive control: Evidence from the Simon task. Psychology and Aging 19: 290–303. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Brenders, P., J.G. Van Hell & A. Dijkstra
(in preparation). Bilingual sentence processing in children and adults: RT and ERP effects. DOI logo  BoP
Caramazza, A. & I. Brones
1979Lexical access in bilinguals. Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society 13: 212–214. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Costa, A., A. Caramazza & N. Sebastian-Galles
2000The cognate facilitation effect: Implications for models of lexical access. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition 26: 1283–1296. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Costa, A., M. Santesteban & A. Cano
2005On the facilitatory effects of cognates in bilingual speech production. Brain and Language 94: 94–103. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Cristoffanini, P., K. Kirsner & D. Milech
1986Bilingual lexical representation: The status of Spanish-English cognates. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 38A: 367–393. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
De, Bleser R., P. Dupont, J. Postler, G. Bormans, D. Speelman, L. Mortelmans & M. Debrock
2003The organisation of the bilingual lexicon: A PET study. Journal of Neurolinguistics 16: 439–456. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
De, Groot A.M.B., P. Delmaar & S.J. Lupker
2000The processing of interlexical homographs in a bilingual and a monolingual task: Support for nonselective access to bilingual memory. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 53: 397–428. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
De, Groot A.M.B. & G.L.J. Nas
1991Lexical representations of cognates and noncognates in compound bilinguals. Journal of Memory and Language 30: 90–123. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
De, Swaan A.
2001Words of the world. The global language system. Polity Press. Google Scholar
Dijkstra, A.
2003Lexical processing in bilinguals and multilinguals: The word selection problem. In J. Cenoz, B. Hufeisen & U. Jessner (Eds.) The multilingual lexicon: 11–26. Kluwer Academic Publishers. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
2005Bilingual visual word recognition and lexical access. In J.F. Kroll & A. De Groot (Eds.) Handbook of Bilingualism: Psycholinguistic Approaches: 178–201. Oxford University Press. Google Scholar
2007The multilingual lexicon. In M.G. Gaskell (Ed.), Handbook of Psycholinguistics. 251–265. Oxford University Press. Google Scholar
Dijkstra, A., B. Brummelhuis & H. Baayen
(under revision). How cross-language similarity affects cognate recognition.
Dijkstra, A., J. Grainger & W.J.B. Van Heuven
1999Recognition of cognates and interlingual homographs: The neglected role of phonology. Journal of Memory and Language 41: 496–518. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Dijkstra, A., F. Moscoso Del Prado Martin, B. Schulpen, H. Baayen & R. Schreuder
2004A roommate in cream? Morphological family size effects on interlingual homograph recognition. Language and Cognitive Processes 20: 7–41. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Dijkstra, A., J.G. Van Hell & P. Brenders
(in preparation). Language switches on cognates in bilingual sentence processing: RT and ERP effects.
Dijkstra, A. & W.J.B. Van Heuven
1998The BIA-model and bilingual word recognition. In J. Grainger & A. Jacobs (Eds.), Localist Connectionist Approaches to Human Cognition. 189–225. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Google Scholar
2002The architecture of the bilingual word recognition system: From identification to decision. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition 5: 175–197. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Dijkstra, A., H. Van Jaarsveld & S. Ten Brinke
1998Interlingual homograph recognition: Effects of task demands and language intermixing. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition 1: 51–66. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Dufour, R. & J.F. Kroll
1995Matching words to concepts in two languages: A test of the concept mediation model of bilingual representation. Memory & Cognition 23: 166–180. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Duyck, W., E. Van Assche, D. Drieghe & R. Hartsuiker
2007Visual word recognition by bilinguals in a sentence context: Evidence for nonselective lexical access. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition 33: 663–679. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Elston-Güttler, K.E, T.C. Gunter & S.A. Kotz
2005Zooming into L2: Global language context and adjustment affect processing of interlingual homographs in sentences. Cognitive Brain Research 25: 57–70. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Friel, B.M. & S.M. Kennison
2001Identifying German-English cognates, false cognates, and non-cognates: methodological issues and descriptive norms. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition 4: 249–274. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Gerard, L.D. & D.L. Scarborough
1989Language-specific lexical access of homographs by bilinguals. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition 15: 305–313. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Gollan, T.H. & L.A. Acenas
2004What is a TOT?: Cognate and translation effects on tip-of-the-tongue states in Spanish-English and Tagalog-English bilinguals. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition 30: 246–269. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Gollan, T.H. & A.S. Brown
2006From tip-of-the-tongue (TOT) data to theoretical implications in two steps: When more TOTs means better retrieval. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 135: 462–483. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Gollan, T., K.I. Forster & R. Frost
1997Translation priming with different scripts: Masked priming with cognates and noncognates in Hebrew-English bilinguals. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition 23: 1122–1139. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Indefrey, P.
2006A meta-analysis of hemodynamic studies on first and second language processing: Which suggested differences can we trust and what do they mean? Language Learning 56: 279–304. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Kellas, G., S.T. Paul, M. Martin & G.B. Simpson
1991Contextual feature activation and meaning access. In G.B. Simpson (ed.), Understanding word and sentence: 47–71. North Holland. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Kerkhofs, R., A. Dijkstra, D. Chwilla & E. De Bruijn
2006Testing a model for bilingual semantic priming with interlingual homographs: RT and ERP effects. Brain Research 1068: 170–183. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Kim, J. & C. Davis
2003Task effects in masked cross-script translation and phonological priming. Journal of Memory and Language 49: 484–499. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Kroll, J.F., A. Dijkstra, N. Janssen & H.J. Schriefers
1999Cross-language lexical activity during production: Evidence from cued picture naming. In A. Vandierendonck, M. Brysbaert, & K. Van Der Goten (eds.), Proceedings of the 11th congress of the European Society for Cognitive Psychology: 92. ESCOP/Academic Press. Google Scholar
Kroll, J.F. & E. Stewart
1994Category interference in translation and picture naming: Evidence for asymmetric connections between bilingual memory representations. Journal of Memory and Language 33: 149–174. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Lalor, E. & K. Kirsner
2000Cross-lingual transfer effects between English and Italian cognates and noncognates. International Journal of Bilingualism 4: 385–398. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Lavaur, J.-M. & N. Font
1998Représentation des mots cognats et non cognats en mémoire chez des bilingues français-espagnol. Psychologie française 43: 329–338. Google Scholar
Lemhöfer, K, A. Dijkstra & M. Michel
2004Three languages, one ECHO: Cognate effects in trilingual word recognition. Language and Cognitive Processes 19: 585–611. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Macnamara, J. & S. Kushnir
1971Linguistic independence of bilinguals: The Input Switch. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior 10: 480–487. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Marian, V. & M. Spivey
2003Competing activation in bilingual language processing: Within- and between-language competition. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition 6: 97–115. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Moreno, E.M., K.D. Federmeier & M. Kutas
2002Switching languages, switching palabras: An electrophysiological study of code switching. Brain and Language 80: 188–207. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Paradis, M.
1981Neurolinguistic organization of a bilingual's two languages. In J. Copeland (ed.), The seventh LACUS forum. Hornbeam Press. Google Scholar
Paulmann, S., K.E. Elston-Güttler, T.C. Gunter & S. Kotz
2006Is bilingual lexical access influenced by language context? NeuroReport 17: 727–731. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Poulisse, N.
1999Slips of the tongue: Speech errors in first and second language production. John Benjamins. DOI logo  BoPGoogle Scholar
Proverbio, A.M., G. Leoni & A. Zani
2004Language switching mechanisms in simultaneous interpreters: An ERP study. Neuropsychologia 42: 1636–1656. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Ransdell, S.E. & I. Fischler
1987Memory in a monolingual mode: When are bilinguals at a disadvantage? Journal of Memory and Language 26: 392–405. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Roelofs, A.
2002How do bilinguals control their use of two languages? Bilingualism: Language and Cognition 5: 214–215. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Sánchez-Casas, R, C.W. Davis & J.E. Garc
1992Bilingual lexical processing: Exploring the cognate/non-cognate distinction. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology 4: 311–322. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Sánchez-CasasR. & J.E. García-Albea
2005The representation of cognate and noncognate words in bilingual memory: Can cognate status be characterized as a special kind of morphological relation? In J.F. Kroll & A.M.B. De Groot (eds.), Handbook of Bilingualism: Psycholinguistic approaches: 226–250. Oxford University Press. Google Scholar
Schulpen, B.
2003Explorations in bilingual word recognition: Cross-modal, cross-sectional, and cross-language effects. Doctoral Thesis Radboud University Nijmegen. Google Scholar
Schwanenflugel, P.J.
1991Why are abstract concepts hard to understand? In P.J. Schwanenflugel (Ed.), The psychology of word meanings: 223–250. Lawrence Erlbaum. Google Scholar
Schwanenflugel, P.J. & K. Lacount
1988Semantic relatedness aand the scope of facilitation for upcoming words in sentences. Journal of Experimental Research: Learning, Memory, and Cognition 14: 344–354. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Schwanenflugel, P.J. & E.J. Shoben
1985The influence of sentence constraint on the scope of facilitation for upcoming words. Journal of Memory and Language 24: 232–252. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Schwartz, A.I. & J.F. Kroll
2006Bilingual lexical activation in sentence context. Journal of Memory and Language 55: 197–212. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Smith, M.C.
1997How do bilinguals access lexical information? In A.M.B. De Groot & J. Kroll (Eds.), Tutorials in Bilingualism: Psycholinguistic Perspectives. 145–168. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Google Scholar
Smits, E., H. Martensen, A. Dijkstra & D. Sandra
2006Naming interlingual homographs: Variable competition and the role of the decision system. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition 9: 281–297. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Soares, C. & F. Grosjean
1984Bilinguals in a monolingual and bilingual speech mode: The effect on lexical access. Memory & Cognition 12: 380–386. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Special Eurobarometer 243, ‘Europeans and their languages’ 2006 Website: http://​ec​.europa​.eu​/public​_opinion​/archives​/ebs​/ebs​_243​_en​.pdf
Van Hell, J.G. & A.M.B. De Groot
2008Sentence context modulates visual word recognition and translation in bilinguals. Acta Psychologica 128: 431–451. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Van, Hell J.G. & A. Dijkstra
2002Foreign language knowledge can influence native language performance. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 9: 780–789. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Van, Heuven W.J.B., A. Dijkstra & J. Grainger
1998Orthographic neighborhood effects in bilingual word recognition. Journal of Memory and Language 39: 458–483. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Van Heuven, W., H. Schriefers, A. Dijkstra & P. Hagoort
2008Language conflict in the bilingual brain. Cerebral Cortex 18(11): 2706–2716. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhn030. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Van Oostendorp, M.
2002Steenkolen Engels: Een pleidooi voor normvervaging. Veen. Google Scholar
Voga, M. & J. Grainger J
2007Cognate status and cross-script translation priming. Memory & Cognition 35: 938–952. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Von Studnitz, R. & D.W. Green
2002Interlingual homograph interference in German–English bilinguals: Its modulation and locus of control. Bilingualism: Language & Cognition 5: 1–23. DOI logo  BoPGoogle Scholar