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Cross-Linguistic Orthographic Effects in Late Spanish/English Bilinguals

Spanish and Portuguese Studies, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32605, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Carolina González, Usha Lakshmanan and Osmer Balam
Languages 2017, 2(4), 24;
Received: 1 August 2017 / Revised: 29 October 2017 / Accepted: 31 October 2017 / Published: 14 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bilingualism in the Hispanic and Lusophone World)
PDF [1986 KB, uploaded 27 November 2017]


Through the use of the visual world paradigm and eye tracking, we investigate how orthographic–phonological mappings in bilinguals promote interference during spoken language comprehension. Eighteen English-dominant bilinguals and 13 Spanish-dominant bilinguals viewed 4-picture visual displays while listening to Spanish-only auditory sentences (e.g., El detective busca su banco ‘The detective is looking for his bench’) in order to select a target image. Stimuli included two types of trials that represent potential conflict in bilinguals: b-v trials, e.g., banco-vaso ‘bench-glass’, representing homophonous phonemes with distinct graphemic representations in Spanish, and j-h trials, e.g., juego-huevo ‘game-egg’, representing interlingual homophonous phonemes with distinct graphemic representations. Data were collected on accuracy, reaction time (RT), and mean proportion of target fixation. Reaction Time results indicate that Spanish-dominant speakers were slower when the competitor was present in b-v trials, though no effects were observed for English-dominant speakers. Eye-tracking results indicate a lack of competition effects in either set of trials for English-dominant speakers, but lower proportional target fixations for Spanish-dominant speakers in both sets of trials when an orthographic/phonological distractor was present. These results suggest that Spanish-dominant bilinguals may be influenced by the orthographic mappings of their less-dominant L2 English, providing new insight into the nature of the interaction between the orthography and phonology in bilingual speakers. View Full-Text
Keywords: bilingualism; spoken word recognition; orthography; phonology; eye-tracking; visual-world bilingualism; spoken word recognition; orthography; phonology; eye-tracking; visual-world

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Dean, C.A.; Valdés Kroff, J.R. Cross-Linguistic Orthographic Effects in Late Spanish/English Bilinguals. Languages 2017, 2, 24.

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