Similarity-dependent Cognate Inhibition Effects in Language Decision
We examined how the cross-linguistic similarity of cognates affects bilingual word recognition in a second language. In a language decision task, Dutch- English bilinguals processed cognates with varying orthographic overlap ratings of their English and Dutch readings (e.g., "night - nacht" vs. "tennis - tennis"). Relative to non-cognates, a non-linear inhibition effect was found on the reaction times for cognates that increased from similar to identical cognates. The results are interpreted as evidence for competing and overlapping orthographic representations and a shared semantic representation. A localist connectionist model involving this kind of representation was able to simulate the findings, and also accounted for the cognate facilitation effect found in L2 lexical decision (Dijkstra et al., under revision). Furthermore, the results showed a better performance of the model using a threshold function rather than activation differences between candidates or a Luce choice rule.
Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen