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Title: The processing and representation of the bilingual Chinese-English mental lexicon
Author: Tytus, Agnieszka
Awarding Body: King's College London (University of London)
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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This study investigated the representation and processing of the bilingual Chinese-English mental lexicon. Specifically, the conceptual level of representation was examined. Four aims were pursued in this project. First and second, this investigation addressed the way in which concepts are represented and processed in bilingual lexical memory. It also compared language processing on a word level in visual and auditory modalities. Finally, the investigation probed the degree of semantic overlap in bilingual speakers. To achieve the aims of this project, Chinese-English speakers were requested to perform a primed animacy decision task. This task allowed for the addressing of the notions of priming effect, priming asymmetry effect, and the impact of modality on language processing. In addition, bilingual participants and control groups of monolingual English and Chinese participants were requested to take part in a semantic judgment task. This task was used to evaluate the notion of semantic overlap. The investigation of the four separate notions helped test the Revised Hierarchical Model (RHM) (Kroll and Stewart, 1994). It was demonstrated that participants responded more rapidly to the related targets (translation equivalents) than to the unrelated ones (words in L1 and L2 that did not share meaning) and this was taken as evidence for a shared conceptual store. Moreover, a priming effect was observed from L1 to L2 but it failed to appear in the L2 to L1 language direction. This pointed to a priming asymmetry and the fact that the strength of the interlexical connection between L1 and concepts is stronger than this relationship with L2. Further comparison of the results from the visual and auditory modalities illustrate that the processes are not identical and that the information in the two modalities might become available at slightly different rates. Finally, a comparison of bilingual and monolingual semantic structures revealed that bilingual English and Chinese conceptual maps are more similar to one another than to the monolingual English or Chinese maps, respectively, which in turn may point to the process of semantic convergence (Pavlenko, 2009). The findings obtained in this study substantiate the original framework of the RHM (Kroll and Stewart, 1994).
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available