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Research Article

What Number Translation Studies Can Teach us About the Lexico-Semantic Organisation in Bilinguals

Authors:

Wouter Duyck ,

Department of Experimental Psychology, Ghent University, Henri Dunantlaan 2, 9000 Ghent, BE
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Marc Brysbaert

Royal Holloway University of London, GB
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Abstract

This article starts with a review of the major findings about the representation of written language in bilinguals, both at the level of word forms (lexical level) and at the level of word meanings (semantic level). Then, the most important model of bilingual word translation is described, followed by some recent findings on number translation that are problematic for the model. Finally, a new masked priming experiment is presented, in which Dutch-French bilinguals had to name Arabic digits (e.g.. 5), number words of their first language (e.g., vijf), and number words of their second language (e.g.. cinq) both in their first and second language. The targets were preceded by a masked Arabic prune numeral, which had a value ranging from Target minus three (e.g., prime 2 - target 5/vijf/cinq) to Target plus three (prime 8 - target 5/vijf/cinq). Previous research with monolingual had shown that the priming effect of Arabic numerals depends on the difference in magnitude between prime and target (e g., the target 5 is primed most by 5 and least by 2 and 8). This effect was repeated in the present study and extended to the translation conditions. Regression analyses revealed strong priming effects in both forward (from first lo second language) and backward translation. Based on these findings, wc argue that future models of bilingual memory should see all translation processes as the result of the summed activation from a semantically mediated route and a direct, lexical route.

How to Cite: Duyck, W. and Brysbaert, M., 2002. What Number Translation Studies Can Teach us About the Lexico-Semantic Organisation in Bilinguals. Psychologica Belgica, 42(3), pp.151–175. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/pb.992
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Published on 01 Jan 2002.
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