The Effect of Semantic Constraint on Lexical Access in Bilingual Word Recognition
The current study investigated how a constraining sentence context affects processing times in second language (L2) word identification. We used eye-tracking to look at whether the cognate facilitation effect, a cue of non-selectiveness in bilingual lexical access, is affected by the presence of a strong semantical sentence context. Norwegian-English bilinguals read sentences containing cognates or matched controls in sentences providing either a high constraining or a low constraining context. We found cognate facilitation effects for high constraining sentences for gaze durations, but none of the other eye-tracking measures. This supports a theory of bilingual non-selective lexical access, which can vary in degree based on different factors. We discuss our results in context of the BIA+ model (Dijkstra & van Heuven, 2002).