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Academic Paper

Title: The role of semantics in translation recognition: effects of number of translations, dominance of translations and semantic relatedness of multiple translations
Author: Jannika Laxen
Institution: Université Paul Valéry Montpellier III
Author: Jean-Marc Lavaur
Institution: Université Paul Valéry Montpellier III
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition; Psycholinguistics; Semantics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: This study aims to examine the influence of multiple translations of a word on bilingual processing in three translation recognition experiments during which French–English bilinguals had to decide whether two words were translations of each other or not. In the first experiment, words with only one translation were recognized as translations faster than words with multiple translations. Furthermore, when words were presented with their dominant translation, the recognition process was faster than when words were presented with their non-dominant translation. In Experiment 2, these effects were replicated in both directions of translation (L1–L2 and L2–L1). In Experiment 3, we manipulated number-of-translations and the semantic relatedness between the different translations of a word. When the two translations of a word (i.e., bateau) were related in meaning (synonyms such as the English translations boat and ship), the translation recognition process was faster than when the two translations of a word (i.e., argent) were unrelated in meaning (the two translations money and silver). The consequences of translation ambiguities are discussed in the light of the distributed conceptual feature model of bilingual memory (De Groot, 1992b; Van Hell and De Groot, 1998b).


This article appears IN Bilingualism: Language and Cognition Vol. 13, Issue 2.

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