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Understanding bilingual lexical organization: Evidence from
masked cross-language priming in Chinese-English bilinguals
Item type text; Dissertation-Reproduction (electronic)
Authors Jiang, Nan
Publisher The University of Arizona.
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UNDERSTANDING BILINGUAL LEXICAL ORGANIZAHON:
EVIDENCE FROM MASKED CROSS-LANGUAGE PRIMING
EST CHINESE-ENGLISH BILINGUALSby Nan Jiang Copyright © Nan Jiang 1998 A Dissertation Submitted to the Faculty of the
INTERDISCIPLINARY PhjD. PROGRAM IN
SECOND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION AND TEACHINGIn Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
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FROM MASKED CR0S5-L/WGUAGE PRIMING IN CHINESE-ENGLISH
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I would like to express my appreciation to the many people who have given me invaluable support in my study and/or contributed to this project. My deepest appreciation goes to Kenneth Forster, my mentor and supervisor. Without his supervision, support and encouragement over the past five years, I could not have completed my study and this project. I have truly enjoyed and benefited a great deal from working with him and deeply appreciate his patience with a student with little background in psycholinguistics and computer skills and unfamiliar with Western academe. I am also grateful to the other two members of my dissertation committee, Janet Nicol and Kerry Green, for their support in my study and their suggestions and comments at various stages of this project. I would also like to give my special appreciation to Muriel Saville-Troike, Merrill Garrett, Douglas Adamson, Kermeth Goodman, Denny Taylor, and Donna Johnson for their invaluable support in my study. Many thanks to Kongliang Xing, Tami Gollan, and Nina Silverberg who have come to my help and rescue in the lab on numerous occasions. Finally, I am most grateful to those Chinese students and scholars who participated in this project. Without their participation, this project would not have been possible.
TABLE 1; Subjects' Reaction Time (ms) and Error Rate (%, in parentheses) as a Function of Priming Direction and Prime-Target Relation in Experiment 1 30
TABLE 3; Subjects' Reaction Time (ms) and Error Rate (%, in parentheses) as a Function of Presentation method and Prime-Target Relation in Experiment 4 46
TABLE 6: Subjects' Reaction Time (ms) and Error Rate (%, in parentheses) as a Function of Prime-Target Relation, Task and Study Status in Experiment 6 75
TABLE 9: Subjects' Reaction Time (ms) and Error Rate (%, in parentheses) as a Function of Prime-Target Relation, Task and Study Status in Experiment 9 87
Cross-language priming has been found to be asymmetrical in that priming is found from LI to L2, but not the reverse. In this project, I examined two issues raised by the asymmetry that are related to the organization of the bilingual lexicon. The first is what attributes to the asymmetry. Two approaches to the asymmetry are distinguished, one attributing it to the representational features of the bilingual lexicon and the other to the processing characteristics associated with the two languages of bilingual speakers. The five experiments in the first series first replicated the asymmetry and then examined three processing-related explanations. The results suggest that none of them provides a satisfactory explanation of the asymmetry. The second series of four experiments tested the hypothesis that lexical links fi"om L2 to LI are episodic in nature. The results of these experiments provide strong evidence for this hypothesis. It is proposed in the study that, due to the practical constraints imposed on SLA, lexical information in L2 may be represented in the episodic system. A model of vocabulary acquisition in L2 is proposed.
In this model, vocabulary acquisition is seen in terms of how the structure and content of the lexical entry evolve in the learning process. Research and pedagogical implications of the model are discussed.
Bilingualism, the phenomenon of one person speaking more than one language, offers a rich and dynamic subject for intellectual inquiry. Research has been done in various areas associated with this phenomenon, such as the effea of learning a second language (L2) on child first language (LI) and intellectual development, syntactic and sociolinguistic constraints on code-switching, language transfer and neurological significance of being able to speak two languages. To researchers who are interested in language representation and processing, bilingualism raises the question of whether and how the two languages are represented and related in the lexicon and memory. Specifically, three related questions have been asked,
1. Whether a bilingual speaker has a single lexicon or two separate lexicons?
2. Whether the two languages share a common conceptual system or have two separate systems?
3- If there is certain degree of separation between the two languages in bilingual memory, at what level are they connected?
While the first two questions continue to receive much attention today (Grainger & Beauvillain, 1988; Bijeljac-Babic, Biardeau & Grainger, 1997; Fox, L996), much of the current research on bilingual memory organization is centered around the last question, i.e., how the two lexical systems in a bilingual are represented and related. In the remaining of this chapter, previous research on bilingual lexical organization will be summarized. In Section A, current models of bilingual lexical organization are described.
Section B summarizes previous empirical studies in the area. The last section explains the purpose and aims of the present project.
A. Models Of Bilingual Lexical Organization Models of bilingual lexical organization aim to outline how the two lexical systems are organized and related in bilingual memory. Three possible relations have been identified in earlier research by Weinreich. According to Weinreich (1953), three types of bilingualism can be distinguished in terms of how the two lexical systems are connected with the conceptual system. The two lexical systems may be connected through a common conceptual system (compound bilingualism), have their own distinctive conceptual representations (co-ordinate bilingualism), thus are separate at both conceptual and lexical levels or the less proficient language may be associated with the dominant language at the lexical level only, thus connected to the semantic representation indirectly via the dominant language (sub-ordinate bilingualism).
Much of the research in the 80's focused on compound and subordinate bilingualism.
Many studies were mtended to investigate whether the two lexical systems are cormected directly through lexical links (word-association hypothesis) or connected through a common conceptual system (concept-mediation hypothesis) (Potter et al, 1984). It was often assumed in these studies that the lexical systems might be cormected either through word association or conceptual mediation.
More recent models departed fi^om earlier ones in several ways. The most significant difference is that current models have abandoned the either-or assumption. Instead, it is generally accepted that different types of relation may coexist in a bilingual speaker. Some L2 lexical items may relate to the concept directly while others may be associated with their translation equivalents in LI. The research goal has become to understand what factors contribute to the patterns of connections in a bilingual. Specifically, three models can be identified. The intermediate hypothesis (Chen & Leung, 1989; see also Kroll & Shell, 1992; Potter et al., 1984) postulates that a bilingual's proficiency in the second language may determine how the two lexical systems are connected. Less proficient bilinguals may rely on lexical links more than conceptual ones. Early in the acquisition process, L2 lexical items are connected mainly through their translation equivalents in Li.
However, as their L2 proficiency improves, direct connections may develop between the words of the new language and the conceptual system and play a more important role in L2 processing.
The Dual-Route Connection Hypothesis proposes that, while the two kinds of connections might exist simultaneously in a bilingual, how a particular word is represented depends on the nature of this word. Specifically, distinction was made between concrete and
nouns and cognates and noncognates, cognates being translation equivalents that share orthographic and/or phonological similarities. It is suggested that concrete and cognate words in the two languages are more likely to be related through a shared semantic or imagery system than abstract and noncognate words (de Groot, 1993; de Groot & Nas, 1991; Paivio, 1991; Paivio, Clark, & Lambert, 1988).
A. third model, the Revised Hierarchical Model proposed by Kroll and Stewart (1994), claims that, while the lexical items of the two language may be linked directly at the lexical level and indirectly through shared conceptual representations, the strength of these links may vary, depending on which language or direction of connection is involved..
Specifically, two asymmetries are suggested. At the lexical level, the connection from an L2 word to its equivalent in the first language is stronger than that fi'om an LI word to its L2 equivalent. At the same time, the link between a word and its corresponding concept is assumed to be stronger in LI than in L2.
B. Previous Studies On Bilingual Lexical Organization Psychological study of bilingualism can be traced back to early this century. However, research that had significant influence on current approach to bilingual study started in the 50's when Weinreich proposed his distinction of three types of bilingualism. However, Weinreich's work was much ignored throughout the 60's and 70's when bilingual research was characterized by an emphasis on issues more directly related to memory or concept rather than language itself. Much research was carried out, for instance, to investigate whether information was organized by its semantic category or the language whereby it was obtained (Kolers, 1963; Lambert, Ignatow and Krauthamer, 1968; Dakymple-Alford & Aamiry, 1969; Rees, 1979) or whether information obtained in two languages leads to the development of a single language-independent conceptual systems or two languagedependent systems (Kolers, 1980,1984; Kintsch, 1970; Caramazza & Brones, 1980).