Sand, sandpaper, and sandwiches: Evidence from a masked compound priming task in L1 and L2 speakers of English

Journal of Cognition, 7(1).


This study follows the footsteps of Jonathan Grainger and colleagues by investigating compound processing in English monolinguals and Chinese-English bilinguals using the masked primed lexical decision paradigm. First language (L1) and second language (L2) speakers responded to a semantically transparent compound (e.g., snowball-SNOW), a semantically opaque compound (honeymoon-HONEY), and an orthographic control condition (e.g., sandwich-SAND). Results revealed significantly larger L1 priming effects in transparent and opaque compared to the control condition (Experiment 1A), whereas no significant differences across conditions were observed in L2 speakers (Experiment 1B). We argue that L1 populations are sensitive to morphological structure during the early stages of compound processing, whereas L2 speakers, in particular those with lower levels of language proficiency, employ a form-based type of analysis. Findings are interpreted within the framework of recent monolingual and bilingual models of complex word recognition.

Journal of Cognition, 7(1)