Investigating bilingual non-selective lexical access within a reading comprehension framework

Justin Gerald Lauro, University of Texas at El Paso


This thesis examines the role of bilingual non-selective lexical access on sentence comprehension. According to the BIA+ model of lexical access, bilinguals have an integrated lexicon with, and activation flows automatically across both languages. This model assumes that the bilingual lexicon is fundamentally non-selective. Previous research shows that cognates, words that share form and meaning across languages, are processed faster relative to non-cognates, even in sentence contexts. However, previous research focuses primarily on processing of single lexical items. The structure building framework of reading comprehension states that readers initially lay a foundation for subsequent information to be mapped on to. This foundation is usually the first participant (e.g. noun) of the sentence. Using Eye-tracking techniques, the present study demonstrates that cognates facilitate processing throughout an entire sentence, when cognates are positioned in the preferred, first noun position. Particularly, facilitation was observed across a variety of eye-tracking measures when a pronoun in the sentence refers to the first noun. However, interference was observed when the pronoun refers to the less preferred, second noun, and a cognate was the first noun of the sentence.

Subject Area

Cognitive psychology|Sociolinguistics

Recommended Citation

Lauro, Justin Gerald, "Investigating bilingual non-selective lexical access within a reading comprehension framework" (2014). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1583930.