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Shared representation of passives across Scottish Gaelic and English: Evidence from structural priming

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
JournalJournal of Cultural Cognitive Science
Early online date10 May 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 May 2018


Evidence from cross-linguistic priming suggests that bilinguals can share their representations of constructions that occur in both languages. Some studies suggest that such sharing occurs only when the constructions involve identical syntactic categories and word order, thereby supporting a restricted shared-structure account of bilingual linguistic representation. But other studies suggest that such exact repetition is not necessary for priming. To address this question, we conducted an experiment in which bilingual speakers of Scottish Gaelic and English heard Gaelic utterances involving actives, two types of passives, or noun phrase conjunctions (as a baseline), and then produced English transitive descriptions. Their target descriptions tended to use the same construction as the prime utterances. As both active and passive word order differs between Gaelic and English, the results support a less restricted shared-structure account of bilingual linguistic representation.

    Research areas

  • bilingualism , cross-linguistic priming, language production, Scottish Gaelic, structural priming, syntax

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