Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-nmvwc Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-06-17T08:51:35.539Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Reading English with Japanese in mind: Effects of frequency, phonology, and meaning in different-script bilinguals*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 November 2013

Department of Linguistics, University of Alberta, Canada
Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition, and Behaviour Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Department of Linguistics, University of Alberta, Canada
Department of Linguistics, University of Alberta, Canada & Seminar fuer Sprachwissenschaft, Universität Tübingen, Germany
Address for the correspondence: Koji Miwa, 4-32 Assiniboia Hall, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta T6G2E7,


Previous priming studies suggest that, even for bilinguals of languages with different scripts, non-selective lexical activation arises. This lexical decision eye-tracking study examined contributions of frequency, phonology, and meaning of L1 Japanese words on L2 English word lexical decision processes, using mixed-effects regression modeling. The response times and eye fixation durations of late bilinguals were co-determined by L1 Japanese word frequency and cross-language phonological and semantic similarities, but not by a dichotomous factor encoding cognate status. These effects were not observed for native monolingual readers and were confirmed to be genuine bilingual effects. The results are discussed based on the Bilingual Interactive Activation model (BIA+, Dijkstra & Van Heuven, 2002) under the straightforward assumption that English letter units do not project onto Japanese word units.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2013 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)



The authors are indebted to Marc Brysbaert, Wouter Duyck, Victor Ferreira, Sachiko Kinoshita, Judith Kroll, and Sarah White for their constructive feedback on an earlier version of this manuscript. The authors would also like to thank David Allen and Mariko Nakayama for discussion. Part of this study was presented at the Seventh International Conference on the Mental Lexicon (2010, Windsor, Canada).

Word property data are downloadable from the first author's website ( All appendices referred to in this paper are available via, in Supplementary Materials accompanying the online copy of the paper.


Adelman, J. S., Brown, G. D. A., & Quesada, J. F. (2006). Contextual diversity, not word frequency, determines word-naming and lexical decision times. Psychological Science, 17, 814823. [Cited in Supplementary Materials online.]CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Amano, S., & Kondo, K. (2003). NTT database series: Lexical properties of Japanese (version 2). Tokyo: Sanseido. [CD-ROM]Google Scholar
Baayen, R. H., Davidson, D. J., & Bates, D. M. (2008). Mixed-effects modeling with crossed random effects for subjects and items. Journal of Memory and Language, 59, 390412.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Baayen, R. H., Feldman, L. B., & Schreuder, R. S. (2006). Morphological influences on the recognition of monosyllabic monomorphemic words. Journal of Memory and Language, 55, 290313.Google Scholar
Baayen, R. H., & Milin, P. (2010). Analyzing reaction times. International Journal of Psychological Research, 3, 1228.Google Scholar
Balota, D. A., Cortese, M. J., Sergent-Marshall, S., Spieler, D., & Yap, M. J. (2004). Visual word recognition for single-syllable words. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 133, 283316.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Balota, D. A., Yap, M. J., Cortese, M. J., Hutchison, K. A., Kessler, B., Loftis, B., Neely, J. H., Nelson, D. L., Simpson, G. B., & Treiman, R. (2007). The English lexicon project. Behavior Research Methods, 39, 445459.Google Scholar
Bates, D., Maechler, M., & Dai, B. (2007). lme4: Linear mixed-effects models using S4 classes. R package version 0.999375–27. Scholar
Box, G. E. P., & Cox, D. R. (1964). An analysis of transformations (with discussion). Journal of the Royal Statistical Society B, 26, 211252.Google Scholar
Brysbaert, M. (2003). Bilingual visual word recognition: Evidence from masked phonological priming. In Kinoshita, S. & Lupker, S. J. (eds.), Masked priming: State-of-the-art, pp. 323344. Hove: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
Brysbaert, M., & Nazir, T. (2005). Visual constraints on written word recognition: Evidence from the optimal viewing position effect. Journal of Research in Reading, 28, 216228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brysbaert, M., & New, B. (2009a). Moving beyond Kučera and Francis: A critical evaluation of current word frequency norms and the introduction of a new and improved word frequency measure for American English. Behavior Research Methods, 41, 977990.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brysbaert, M., & New, B. (2009b). SUBTLEXusExcel2007.xlsx. Retrieved January 30, 2010 from Behavior Research Methods, Supplementary Material: Scholar
Brysbaert, M., Van Dyck, G., & Van de Poel, M. (1999). Visual word recognition in bilinguals: Evidence from masked phonological priming. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 25, 137148.Google ScholarPubMed
Buchta, C., & Hahsler, M. (2009). cba: Clustering for Business Analytics. R package version 0.2–6. [Cited in Supplementary Materials online.]Google Scholar
Burgess, C., & Livesay, K. (1998). The effect of corpus size in predicting reaction time in a basic word recognition task: Moving on from Kučera and Francis. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 30, 272277. [Cited in Supplementary Materials online.]Google Scholar
Carreiras, M., Ferrand, L., Grainger, J., & Perea, M. (2005). Sequential effects of phonological priming in visual word recognition. Psychological Science, 16, 585589.Google Scholar
Cohen, J. (1983). The cost of dichotomization. Applied Psychological Measurement, 7, 249254.Google Scholar
Davis, C., Sánchez-Casas, R., García-Albea, J., Guasch, M., Molero, M., & Ferré, P. (2010). Masked translation priming: Varying language experience and word type with Spanish–English bilinguals. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 13, 137155.Google Scholar
De Groot, A. M. B., Borgwaldt, S., Bos, M., & Van den Eijnden, E. (2002). Lexical decision and word naming in bilinguals: Language effects and task effects. Journal of Memory and Language, 47, 91124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dijkstra, T., de Bruijn, E., Schriefers, H., & Ten Brinke, S. (2000). More on interlingual homograph recognition: Language intermixing versus explicitness of instruction. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 3, 6978.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dijkstra, T., Grainger, J., & Van Heuven, W. J. B. (1999). Recognition of cognates and interlingual homographs: The neglected role of phonology. Journal of Memory and language, 41, 496518.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dijkstra, T., Miwa, K., Brummelhuis, B., Sappelli, M., & Baayen, R. H. (2010). How cross-language similarity affects cognate recognition. Journal of Memory and Language, 62, 284301.Google Scholar
Dijkstra, T., Moscoso del Prado Martin, F., Schulpen, B., Baayen, R. H., & Schreuder, R. (2005). A roommate in cream? Morphological family size effects on interlingual homograph recognition. Language and Cognitive Processes (special issue on morphology), 20, 741.Google Scholar
Dijkstra, T., & Van Hell, J. G. (2003). Testing the language mode hypothesis using trilinguals. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 6, 216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dijkstra, T., & Van Heuven, W. J. B. (1998). The BIA model and bilingual word recognition. In Grainger, J. & Jacobs, A. (eds.), Localist connectionist approaches to human cognition, pp. 189225. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
Dijkstra, T., & Van Heuven, W. J. B. (2002). The architecture of the bilingual word recognition system: From identification to decision. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 5, 175197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dijkstra, T., Van Heuven, W. J. B., & Grainger, J. (1998). Simulating cross-language competition with the bilingual interactive activation model. Psychologica Belgica, 38, 177196.Google Scholar
Dijkstra, T., Van Jaarsveld, H., & Ten Brinke, S. (1998). Interlingual homograph recognition: Effects of task demands and language intermixing. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 1, 5166.Google Scholar
Duñabeitia, J. A., Perea, M., & Carreiras, M. (2010). Masked translation priming effects with highly proficient simultaneous bilinguals. Experimental Psychology, 57, 98107.Google Scholar
Duyck, W. (2005). Translation and associative priming with cross-lingual pseudohomophones: Evidence for nonselective phonological activation in bilinguals. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 31, 13401359.Google ScholarPubMed
Duyck, W., & Brysbaert, M. (2004). Forward and backward number translation requires conceptual mediation in both balanced and unbalanced bilinguals. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 30, 889906.Google Scholar
Duyck, W., Diependaele, K., Drieghe, D., & Brysbaert, M. (2004). The size of the cross-lingual masked phonological priming effect does not depend on second language proficiency. Experimental Psychology, 51, 116124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Duyck, W., Van Assche, E., Drieghe, D., & Hartsuiker, R. (2007). Visual word recognition by bilinguals in a sentence context: Evidence for nonselective lexical access. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 33, 663679.Google Scholar
Duyck, W., Vanderelst, D., Desmet, T., & Hartsuiker, R. J. (2008). The frequency effect in second-language visual word recognition. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 15, 850855.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Farid, M., & Grainger, J. (1996). How initial fixation position influences visual word recognition: A comparison of French and Arabic. Brain and Language, 53, 351368.Google Scholar
Ferrand, L., & Grainger, J. (1992). Phonology and orthography in visual word recognition: Evidence from masked nonword priming. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 45A, 353372.Google Scholar
Ferrand, L., & Grainger, J. (1994). Effects of orthography are independent of phonology in masked form priming. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 47A, 365382.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Forster, K. I. (1998). The pros and cons of masked priming. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 27, 203233.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Gerard, L. D., & Scarborough, D. L. (1989). Language-specific access of homographs by bilinguals. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 15, 305315.Google Scholar
Gollan, T. H., Forster, K. I., & Frost, R. (1997). Translation priming with different scripts: Masked priming with cognates and noncognates in Hebrew–English bilinguals. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 23, 11221139.Google ScholarPubMed
Gollan, T. H., Montoya, R. I., Cera, C., & Sandoval, T. C. (2008). More use almost always means a smaller frequency effect: Aging, bilingualism, and the weaker links hypothesis. Journal of Memory & Language, 58, 787814.Google Scholar
Gooskens, C., & Heeringa, W. (2004). Perceptive evaluation of Levenshtein dialect distance measurements using Norwegian dialect data. Language Variation and Change, 16, 189208.Google Scholar
Grainger, J., & Frenck-Mestre, C. (1998). Masked priming by translation equivalents in proficient bilinguals. Language and Cognitive Processes, 13, 601623.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Grosjean, F. (1989). Neurolinguists, beware! The bilingual is not two monolinguals in one person. Brain and Language, 36, 315.Google Scholar
Haigh, C. A., & Jared, D. (2007). The activation of phonological representations by bilinguals while reading silently: Evidence from interlingual homophones. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 33, 623644.Google Scholar
Hoshino, N., & Kroll, J. F. (2008). Cognate effects in picture naming: Does crosslanguage activation survive a change of script? Cognition, 106, 501511.Google Scholar
Kerkhofs, R., Dijkstra, T., Chwilla, D. J., & de Bruijn, E. R. A. (2006). Testing a model for bilingual semantic priming with interlingual homographs: RT and N400 effects. Brain Research, 1068, 170183.Google Scholar
Kim, J., & Davis, C. (2003). Task effects in masked cross-script translation and phonological priming. Journal of Memory and Language, 49, 484499.Google Scholar
Kinoshita, S., & Norris, D. (2010). Masked priming effect reflects evidence accumulated by the prime. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 63, 194204.Google Scholar
Kohnert, K. (2004). Cognitive and cognate-based treatments for bilingual aphasia: A case study. Brain and Language, 91, 294302.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Kroll, J. F., & Stewart, E. (1994). Category interference in translation and picture naming: Evidence for asymmetric connections between bilingual memory representations. Journal of Memory and Language, 33, 149174.Google Scholar
Kuperman, V., Schreuder, R., Bertram, R., & Baayen, H. (2009). Reading of polymorphemic Dutch compounds: Towards a multiple route model of lexical processing. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 35, 876895 Google Scholar
Lalor, E., & Kirsner, K. (2000). Cross-lingual transfer effects between English and Italian cognates and noncognates. International Journal of Bilingualism, 4, 385398.Google Scholar
Lemhöfer, K. M. L., & Dijkstra, T. (2004). Recognizing cognates and interlingual homographs: Effects of code similarity in generalized lexical decision. Memory and Cognition, 32, 533550.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Levenshtein, V. I. (1966). Binary codes capable of correcting deletions, insertions and reversals. Soviet Physics Doklady, 10, 707710.Google Scholar
Libben, G., & Jarema, G. (2002). Mental lexicon research in the new millennium. Brain and Language, 81, 110.Google Scholar
Lund, K., & Burgess, C. (1996). Producing high-dimensional semantic spaces from lexical co-occurrence. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 28, 203208. [Cited in Supplementary Materials online.]Google Scholar
MacCallum, R. C., Zhang, S., Preacher, K. J., & Rucker, D. D. (2002). On the practice of dichotomization of quantitative variables. Psychological Methods, 7, 1940.Google Scholar
Marsolek, C. J. (2008). What antipriming reveals about priming. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 12, 176181.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
McClelland, J. L., & Rumelhart, D. E. (1981). An interactive activation model of context effects in letter perception, Part 1: An account of basic findings. Psychological Review, 88, 375405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Meara, P. (2005). X_Lex: The Swansea Vocabulary Levels Test. v2.05. Swansea: Lognostics. [Cited in Supplementary Materials online.]Google Scholar
Miller, G. A. (1990). WordNet: An on-line lexical database. International Journal of Lexiography, 3, 235312. [Cited in Supplementary Materials online.]Google Scholar
Miwa, K., Libben, G., Dijkstra, T., & Baayen, R. H. The time-course of lexical activation in Japanese morphographic word recognition: Evidence for a character-driven processing model. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, doi: 10.1080/17470218.2013.790910. Published online by Taylor & Francis, May 28, 2013.Google Scholar
Nakayama, E., Kiryu, R., & Yamaguchi, M. (2007). Shinbun-ni miru kikangairaigo [Basic loan words in newspapers]. The National Institute for Japanese Language, 126. (retrieved February 10, 2011).Google Scholar
Nakayama, M., Sears, C. R., Hino, Y., & Lupker, S. J. (2012). Cross-script phonological priming for Japanese–English bilinguals: Evidence for integrated phonological representations. Language and Cognitive Processes, 27, 15631583.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
O'Regan, J. K., & Jacobs, A. (1992). Optimal viewing position effects in word recognition: A challenge to current theory. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 18, 185197.Google Scholar
Otwinowska-Kasztelanic, A. (2009). Raising awareness of cognate vocabulary as a strategy in teaching English to Polish adults. Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 3, 131147.Google Scholar
Pecher, D. (2001). Perception is a two-way junction: Feedback semantics in word recognition. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 8, 545551.Google Scholar
Perea, M., Duñabeitia, J. A., & Carreiras, M. (2008). Masked associative/semantic priming effects across languages with highly proficient bilinguals. Journal of Memory and Language, 58, 916930.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Perfetti, C. A., Zhang, S., & Berent, I. (1992). Reading in English and Chinese: Evidence for a “universal” phonological principle. In Frost, R. & Katz, L. (eds.), Advances in Psychology: Orthography, phonology, morphology, and meaning (vol. 94), pp. 227248. Amsterdam: North-Holland.Google Scholar
Potter, M. C., So, K. F., von Eckhardt, B., & Feldman, L. B. (1984). Lexical and conceptual representation in beginning and more proficient bilinguals. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 23, 2338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
R Development Core Team (2011). R: A language and environment for statistical computing. Vienna: R Foundation for Statistical Computing. Scholar
Rastle, K., Harrington, J., & Coltheart, M. (2002). 358,534 nonwords: The ARC Nonword Database. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 55A, 13391362.Google Scholar
Rayner, K., Slattery, T. J., & Belanger, N. N. (2010). Eye movements, the perceptual span, and reading speed. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 17, 834839.Google Scholar
Rodriguez-Fornells, A., Rotte, M., Heinze, H. J., Nösselt, T., & Münte, T. F. (2002). Brain potential and functional MRI evidence for how to handle two languages with one brain. Nature, 415, 10261029.Google Scholar
Sánchez-Casas, R., & García-Albea, J. E. (2005). The representation of cognate and noncognate words in bilingual memory: Can cognate status be characterized as special kind of morphological relation? In Kroll, J. F. & de Groot, A. M. B. (eds.), Handbook of bilingualism: Psycholinguistic approaches, pp. 226250. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Sanseido Henshujo. (1994). Concise dictionary of katakana words . Tokyo: Sanseido.Google Scholar
Scarborough, D. L., Gerard, L., & Cortese, C. (1984). Independence of lexical access in bilingual word recognition. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 23, 8499.Google Scholar
Schepens, J., Dijkstra, T., & Grootjen, F. (2011). Distribution of cognates in Europe as based on Levenshtein distance. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 15, 157166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Schepens, J., Dijkstra, T., Grootjen, F., & Van Heuven, W. J. B. (2013). Cross-language distributions of high frequency and phonetically similar cognates. PLoS ONE, 8, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0063006.Google Scholar
Schmidt, R. A. (1982). More on motor programs . In Kelso, J. A. S. (ed.), Human motor behavior: An introduction, pp. 189217. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
Schwartz, A. I., Kroll, J. F., & Diaz, M. (2007). Reading words in Spanish and English: Mapping orthography to phonology in two languages. Language and Cognitive Processes, 22, 106129.Google Scholar
Thierry, G., & Wu, Y. J. (2004). Electrophysiological evidence for language interference in late bilinguals. NeuroReport, 15, 15551558.Google Scholar
Thierry, G., & Wu, Y. J. (2007). Brain potentials reveal unconscious translation during foreign-language comprehension. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104, 1253012535.Google Scholar
Van Assche, E., Drieghe, D., Duyck, W., Welvaert, M., & Hartsuiker, R. J. (2011). The influence of semantic constraints on bilingual word recognition during sentence reading. Journal of Memory and Language, 64, 88107.Google Scholar
Van Assche, E., Duyck, W., Hartsuiker, R. I., & Diependaele, K. (2009). Does bilingualism change native-language reading? Psychological Science, 20, 923927.Google Scholar
Van Hell, J. G., & De Groot, A. M. B. (1998). Conceptual representation in bilingual memory: Effects of concreteness and cognate status in word association. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 1, 193211.Google Scholar
Van Hell, J. G., & Dijkstra, T. (2002). Foreign language knowledge can influence native language performance in exclusively native contexts. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 9, 780789.Google Scholar
Van Heuven, W. J. B., Dijkstra, T., & Grainger, J. (1998). Orthographic neighborhood effects in bilingual word recognition. Journal of Memory and Language, 39, 458483.Google Scholar
Venables, W. N., & Ripley, B. D. (2002). Modern applied statistics with S (4th edn.). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
Vitu, F., O'Regan, J. K., & Mittau, M. (1990). Optimal landing position in reading isolated words and continuous text. Perception & Psychophysics, 47, 583600.Google Scholar
Voga, M., & Grainger, J. (2007). Cognate status and cross-script translation priming. Memory and Cognition, 35, 938952.Google Scholar
Wu, Y. J., & Thierry, G. (2010). Chinese–English bilinguals reading English hear Chinese. The Journal of Neuroscience, 30, 76467651.Google Scholar
Yarkoni, T., Balota, D. A., & Yap, M. J. (2008). Moving beyond Coltheart's N: A new measure of orthographic similarity. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 15, 971979.Google Scholar
Supplementary material: PDF

Miwa et al. Supplementary Material


Download Miwa et al. Supplementary Material(PDF)
PDF 348.7 KB