Cross-lingual priming of cognates and interlingual homographs from L2 to L1

Poort, E. D., & Rodd, J. M. (2022). Cross-lingual priming of cognates and interlingual homographs from L2 to L1. Glossa Psycholinguistics, 1(1): 11. doi:10.5070/G601147.
Many word forms exist in multiple languages, and can have either the same meaning (cognates) or a different meaning (interlingual homographs). Previous experiments have shown that processing of interlingual homographs in a bilingual’s second language is slowed down by recent experience with these words in the bilingual’s native language, while processing of cognates can be speeded up (Poort et al., 2016; Poort & Rodd, 2019a). The current experiment replicated Poort and Rodd’s (2019a) Experiment 2 but switched the direction of priming: Dutch–English bilinguals (n = 106) made Dutch semantic relatedness judgements to probes related to cognates (n = 50), interlingual homographs (n = 50) and translation equivalents (n = 50) they had seen 15 minutes previously embedded in English sentences. The current experiment is the first to show that a single encounter with an interlingual homograph in one’s second language can also affect subsequent processing in one’s native language. Cross-lingual priming did not affect the cognates. The experiment also extended Poort and Rodd (2019a)’s finding of a large interlingual homograph inhibition effect in a semantic relatedness task in the participants’ L2 to their L1, but again found no evidence for a cognate facilitation effect in a semantic relatedness task. These findings extend the growing literature that emphasises the high level of interaction in a bilingual’s mental lexicon, by demonstrating the influence of L2 experience on the processing of L1 words. Data, scripts, materials and pre-registration available via
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