Trial by trial: Selecting first or second language phonology of a visually masked word

Kalinka Timmer*, Lesya Y. Ganushchak, Yulia Mitlina, Niels O. Schiller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


People often process non-native linguistic information. Here, we investigated whether first (L1) and second language (L2) phonologies are automatically activated. Response latencies and event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded, while Russian–English bilinguals read aloud L1 target words (e.g. PEЙC /reis/‘flight’) primed with onset-matching L1 (e.g. PAHA /rana/‘wound’) or L2 words (e.g. PACK) and corresponding onset-mismatching primes (e.g. L1: КAPA /kara/‘punishment’; L2: HOPE). Responses were faster to targets preceded by L1 onset-matched than by onset-mismatched primes. No priming from L2 primes was found due to conflicting phonologies (e.g.

is /r/or /p/). These results were supported by the ERPs suggesting that both, L1 and L2 phonologies are simultaneously activated, after which the phonology belonging to the language of the prime is selected. The results provide support for nonselective models of bilingual reading, which assume automatic activation of the non-target language phonology even when it is not required by the task.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1059-1069
Number of pages11
JournalLanguage, Cognition and Neuroscience
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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Publisher Copyright:
© 2013 Taylor & Francis.


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