Do bilinguals represent between-language relationships beyond the word level in their lexicon?

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Abstract

There is much evidence that the bilingual lexicon is well integrated at the level of individual words. In this article, we propose that it is also integrated at the multiword phrase (MWP) level. We first review the representation of single words within and across languages. Drawing upon this framework, we review current accounts of MWP representations and supporting empirical evidence. Based on the reported parallels between single words and MWPs in many aspects of representation and processing, we propose that MWPs, like single words, also have integrated representations across languages. We then sketch two accounts of how such MWPs might be represented across languages: the online activation model and the learning-based model. Both accounts show how MWPs can be linked across languages at a level corresponding to phrases by sharing meaning and syntax. Importantly, the online activation account regards the between-language MWP links as a channel for cross-language activation during MWP processing. In contrast, the learning-based model treats the links as a channel for reshaping of representation in one lexicon by the other lexicon during MWP learning. We briefly evaluate the two accounts and discuss how to test some of the assumptions of the models.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100892
JournalJournal of neurolinguistics
Volume55
Early online date9 Mar 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020

Keywords

  • multiword phrase
  • bilingual lexicon
  • between-language link
  • online activation
  • learning-based

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