The time course of brain activity in reading identical cognates: An ERP study of Chinese - Japanese bilinguals

Kexin Xiong, Rinus G. Verdonschot, Katsuo Tamaoka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Previous studies suggest that bilinguals’ lexical access is language non-selective, especially for orthographically identical translation equivalents across languages (i.e., identical cognates). The present study investigated how such words (e.g., 学校 meaning “school” in both Chinese and Japanese) are processed in the (late) Chinese - Japanese bilingual brain. Using an L2-Japanese lexical decision task, both behavioral and electrophysiological data were collected. Reaction times (RTs), as well as the N400 component, showed that cognates are more easily recognized than non-cognates. Additionally, an early component (i.e., the N250), potentially reflecting activation at the word-form level, was also found. Cognates elicited a more positive N250 than non-cognates in the frontal region, indicating that the cognate facilitation effect occurred at an early stage of word formation for languages with logographic scripts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100911
JournalJournal of Neurolinguistics
Volume55
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Aug

Keywords

  • Bilingual cognate recognition
  • Chinese - Japanese bilingual
  • Event-related potential (ERP)
  • Language non-selective activation
  • N250
  • N400

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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