Spoken word recognition in the bilingual brain. Two languages or one?

Ahmad Dawud
Cognitive Science — Universität Osnabrück

To recognise a spoken word, a plausible theory is that multiple sound patterns consistent with the auditory input are activated. How does bilingualism influence the activation of the mental lexicon? Some experiments have suggested a modular organisation where the lexicons of
the two languages are separate. Subsequent experiments combined with eye-tracking have significantly challenged this view. They have shown that bilinguals experience cross-lexical interference as they interpret simple reference, and this parallel activation is modulated by the bilinguals' sensitivity to precise acoustic cues.