Discriminating languages in bilingual contexts: the impact of orthographic markedness
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Frontiers in Psychology 5 : (2014) // Article ID 424
Does language-specific orthography help language detection and lexical access in naturalistic bilingual contexts? This study investigates how L2 orthotactic properties influence bilingual language detection in bilingual societies and the extent to which it modulates lexical access and single word processing. Language specificity of naturalistically learnt L2 words was manipulated by including bigram combinations that could be either L2 language-specific or common in the two languages known by bilinguals. A group of balanced bilinguals and a group of highly proficient but unbalanced bilinguals who grew up in a bilingual society were tested, together with a group of monolinguals (for control purposes). All the participants completed a speeded language detection task and a progressive demasking task. Results showed that the use of the information of orthotactic rules across languages depends on the task demands at hand, and on participants' proficiency in the second language. The influence of language orthotactic rules during language detection, lexical access and word identification are discussed according to the most prominent models of bilingual word recognition.