Cross-language Sense Priming

Jennifer M Blush, University of Texas at El Paso


Research has yet to systematically examine the extent to which activation spreads across multiple senses of words. The two present experiments focused on examining the effects of cross-language sense priming via processing polysemous words in and out of a sentence context. In Experiment 1, participants made semantic verification of word pairs; critical trials contained polysemous words. In Experiment 2, participants read sentences in an eye-tracker with critical sentences containing both instantiations of a polysemous word. Results from both experiments suggested that senses can be primed within and across languages. These results give support for the DFM’s interconnective network of conceptual features. Additionally, cognate status created competition restricting spread of activation, which gives support for the DFM’s interconnective network of lexical features. Also, sense status modulated priming such that activation spread more strongly across shared senses, but evidence for this was very limited. These results suggest that the DFM’s network is less graded than originally thought, and conceptual features that are not used in one language become linked to both lexical forms.

Subject Area

Psychology|Language|Cognitive psychology

Recommended Citation

Blush, Jennifer M, "Cross-language Sense Priming" (2019). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI22589393.