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Effects of phonological feedback on the selection of syntax: Evidence from between-language syntactic priming*

  • SARAH BERNOLET (a1), ROBERT J. HARTSUIKER (a1) and MARTIN J. PICKERING (a2)

Abstract

Research on word production in bilinguals has often shown an advantage for cognate words. According to some accounts, this cognate effect is caused by feedback from a level that represents information about phonemes (or graphemes) to a level concerned with the word. In order to investigate whether phonological feedback influences the selection of words and syntactic constructions in late bilinguals, we investigated syntactic priming between Dutch and English genitive constructions (e.g., the fork of the girl vs. the girl's fork). The head nouns of prime and target constructions were always translation equivalents. Half of these were Dutch–English cognates with a large phonological overlap (e.g., vork–fork), the other half were non-cognates that had very few phonemes in common (e.g., eend–duck). Cognate status boosted between-language syntactic priming. Further analyses showed a continuous effect of phonological overlap for cognates and non-cognates, indicating that this boost was at least partly caused by feedback from the translation equivalents’ shared phonemes.

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Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Sarah Bernolet, Henri Dunantlaan 2, B-9000 Gent, Belgium sarah.bernolet@ugent.be

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*

The authors wish to thank Jürgen Meisel and three anonymous reviewers for their comments, and Marloes Bressers for drawing the target pictures.

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References

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Keywords

Effects of phonological feedback on the selection of syntax: Evidence from between-language syntactic priming*

  • SARAH BERNOLET (a1), ROBERT J. HARTSUIKER (a1) and MARTIN J. PICKERING (a2)

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