Previous masked-priming research has shown automatic phonological activation during visual word recognition in monolingual skilled-adult readers. Activation also occurs across languages in bilingual adult readers, suggesting that the activation of phonological representations is not language-specific. Less is known about developing readers: first, it is unclear whether there is automatic phonological activation during visual word recognition among children in general; and second, no empirical data exists on whether the activation of phonological representations is language-specific or not in bilingual children. The present study investigates these issues in bilingual third and fifth graders using cross-language phonological masked priming in a lexical decision task. Targets were French words and primes were English pseudowords of three types: (1) phonological primes - share phonological information with the target beginning (e.g., dee-DIMANCHE [Sunday], pronounced /di:/-/dimɑ̃ʃ/) (2) orthographic-control primes - control for letter(s) shared by the phonological prime and target (i.e., d) and their position (e.g., doo-DIMANCHE, pronounced /du:/-/dimɑ̃ʃ/); and (3) unrelated primes - share no phonological or orthographic information with the target beginning (e.g., pow-DIMANCHE, pronounced /paʊ/-/dimɑ̃ʃ/). Significant phonological priming was observed suggesting that: (1) phonological representations are rapidly and automatically activated by print during visual word recognition from Grade 3 onwards; and (2) the activation of phonological representations is not language-specific in bilingual children.
- Visual word recognition
- Masked priming
Sauval, K., Perre, L., Duncan, L. G., Marinus, E., & Casalis, S. (2017). Automatic phonological activation during visual word recognition in bilingual children: a cross-language masked priming study in Grades 3 and 5. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 154, 64-77. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2016.10.003