LINGUIST List 14.94

Mon Jan 13 2003

Diss: Psycholing: Dandria "Lexical access..."

Editor for this issue: Karolina Owczarzak <>


  1. robdand, Psycholing: Dandria "Lexical access & prototypicality..."

Message 1: Psycholing: Dandria "Lexical access & prototypicality..."

Date: Fri, 10 Jan 2003 15:33:46 +0000
From: robdand <>
Subject: Psycholing: Dandria "Lexical access & prototypicality..."

New Dissertation Abstract

Institution: University of Malta
Program: B.A. (Honours) in Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2002

Author: Roberta Dandria 

Dissertation Title: 
Lexical access & prototypicality in the English of Maltese bilingual speakers

Linguistic Field: 
Psycholinguistics, Cognitive Science

Subject Language: Maltese (code: 3889)

Dissertation Director 1: Dr. Alexandra Vella
Dissertation Director 2: Mr. Joe Caruana

Dissertation Abstract: 

This study investigates aspects of the processes underlying the
lexical access of prototypes in Maltese speakers of English. Data was
collected from three groups of Maltese English speakers of different
degrees of English language proficiency (English-dominant,
Maltese-dominant, and balanced bilinguals), in an experiment involving
a picture-naming task. Each image stimulus was chosen on the basis of
the position of the corresponding lexeme in the prototype structure of
the respective lexical field. A prime in the form of the printed
superordinate term preceded each image. The subjects were asked to
respond by naming the pictures presented, and reaction times were

The results derived from the task allow a number of preliminary
conclusions to be drawn. In the English-dominant and balanced
bilingual group results, there is a clear differentiation in the
response times to prototypes, non-prototypes, and words that were not
related to their supposed prime. No such differentiation is present in
the Maltese-dominant group results. This suggests that the storage
and processing of words in L2 is not based on prototype hierarchies.
In addition, it is striking that the balanced bilinguals have both the
overall fastest response times and the lowest error rates, and
therefore seem to be at an advantage over the English-dominant and
Maltese-dominant bilinguals, at least in the sphere of lexical access.
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