Cross-linguistic Priming in Comprehension of the Logical Form

01 October 2018 → 30 September 2022
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Humanities
    • Linguistic typology
Cross-linguistic Priming
Project description

Many researchers have investigated whether a bilingual has one mental linguistic system in which
both languages are stored, or whether a bilingual has separate linguistic systems for each
language. My proposed research investigates such bilingual linguistic systems, but on a level of
language that has not received much attention in research on bilingualism before. This level is the
level of the 'Logical Form' (LF), which determines the interpretation of a sentence. If a sentence is
ambiguous, it has multiple LFs, as each interpretation has its own LF. The key question in this
research is to investigate whether bilinguals have one shared representation of the LF for both
languages, or separate representations of the LF for each language. This can be studied by using
priming studies. Priming refers to the effect that a stimulus is processed more easily after
exposure to a similar stimulus. Such priming effects can occur on the level of the LF, as people
process a certain interpretation of an ambiguous sentence more easily after exposure to that
interpretation. In this research, bilinguals need to process an ambiguous sentence in one language,
after exposure to one possible interpretation of that sentence in another language. Thus, this
research investigates whether priming effects on the LF level hold cross-linguistically. If this is the
case, it suggests that bilinguals make use of the same representation for all languages, and thus
have one shared representation of the LF.