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date: 21 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Psycholinguistic research provides a wealth of evidence that when performing tasks in one language bilinguals and proficient second language learners cannot avoid activating orthographic, phonological, lemma, and semantic representations in their other languages. These other-language influences are evident in performance measures such as reaction time, eye movements, and brain potentials. Representations in a bilingual’s different languages continuously compete with each other for selection, suggesting that they are stored within compound systems. This is the case both for early simultaneous acquirers and adult second-language learners. With regard to mapping form onto meaning, less proficient second-language learners tend to rely on direct connections to L1 translations, while acquiring direct language-specific mappings from form to meaning requires a large amount of experience. Bilinguals rely on domain-general executive control mechanisms to manage the activation levels of their different languages.

Keywords: bilingualism, psycholinguistics, compound bilingualism, second-language learners, semantic representation, translation, form−meaning mapping, meaning−form mapping, executive control mechanisms

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