The present study explored whether language-nonselective access in bilinguals occurs across word classes in a sentence context. Dutch-English bilinguals were auditorily presented with English (L2) sentences while looking at a visual world. The sentences contained interlingual homophones from distinct lexical categories (e.g., the English verb spoke, which overlaps phonologically with the Dutch noun for ghost, spook). Eye movement recordings showed that depictions of referents of the Dutch (L1) nouns attracted more visual attention than unrelated distractor pictures in sentences containing homophones. This finding shows that native language objects are activated during second language verb processing despite the structural information provided by the sentence context.

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Acta Psychologica
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Vandeberg, L., Guadalupe, T., & Zwaan, R. (2011). How verbs can activate things: Cross-language activation across word classes. Acta Psychologica, 138(1), 68–73. doi:10.1016/j.actpsy.2011.05.007