Frequency effects in monolingual and bilingual natural reading

Uschi Cop*, Emmanuel Keuleers, Denis Drieghe, Wouter Duyck

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper presents the first systematic examination of the monolingual and bilingual frequency effect (FE) during natural reading. We analyzed single fixation durations on content words for participants reading an entire novel. Unbalanced bilinguals and monolinguals show a similarly sized FE in their mother tongue (L1), but for bilinguals the FE is considerably larger in their second language (L2) than in their L1. The FE in both L1 and L2 reading decreased with increasing L1 proficiency, but it was not affected by L2 proficiency. Our results are consistent with an account of bilingual language processing that assumes an integrated mental lexicon with exposure as the main determiner for lexical entrenchment. This means that no qualitative difference in language processing between monolingual, bilingual L1, or bilingual L2 is necessary to explain reading behavior. We present this account and argue that not all groups of bilinguals necessarily have lower L1 exposure than monolinguals do and, in line with Kuperman and Van Dyke (Journal of Experimental Psychology, 39 (3), 802-823, 2013), that individual vocabulary size and language exposure change the accuracy of the relative corpus word frequencies and thereby determine the size of the FEs in the same way for all participants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1216-1234
Number of pages19
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin & Review
Volume22
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Eye movements and reading
  • Psycholinguistics
  • Visual word recognition
  • VISUAL WORD RECOGNITION
  • INDIVIDUAL-DIFFERENCES
  • LEXICAL ACCESS
  • SENTENCE CONTEXT
  • ENGLISH
  • 2ND-LANGUAGE
  • HYPOTHESIS
  • TIME
  • ORTHOGRAPHIES
  • FAMILIARITY

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