Testing the Revised Hierarchical Model: Do Dutch-English bilinguals show Word Association or Concept Mediation for L2 Verbs?

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Multiple studies have tested the predictions of the Revised Hierarchical Model regarding bilingual word processing and meaning access. However, previous research has mostly used noun translations as stimulus items. The present study contributes to the field of research by adding a study to the word class of verbs in combination with forward translation. 32 Dutch-English bilinguals performed a translation recognition task that included different categories of stimuli. The English target items were word sets that were either form-related or semantically related to the preceding Dutch prime word. Sensitivity to either one of those categories would suggest the appearance of word association (form-related words appeal to lexical connections in the mental lexicon) or concept mediation (semantically related words appeal to conceptual connections in the mental lexicon). The results showed that more-proficient bilinguals were affected by semantically related words. Therefore, it can be concluded that concept mediation is present for more proficient bilinguals in a forward verb translation task. This is in line with the hypothesis of the Revised Hierarchical Model, that states that a shift from word association to concept mediation takes place when a bilingual becomes more proficient in their second language.
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