Structural priming in bilinguals

Rutger van-Gompel (Lead / Corresponding author), Manabu Arai

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

11 Citations (Scopus)
411 Downloads (Pure)


In this review, we examine how structural priming has been used to investigate the representation of first and second language syntactic structures in bilinguals. Most experiments suggest that structures that are identical in the first and second language have a single, shared mental representation. The results from structures that are similar but not fully identical are less clear, but they may be explained by assuming that first and second language representations are merely connected rather than fully shared. Some research has also used structural priming to investigate the representation of cognate words. We will also consider whether cross-linguistic structural priming taps into long-term implicit learning effects. Finally, we discuss recent research that has investigated how second language syntactic representations develop as learners’ proficiency increases.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalBilingualism: Language and Cognition
Early online date5 Oct 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Oct 2017


  • Bilingualism
  • syntactic representations
  • cross-linguistic structural priming
  • shared-syntax model
  • cognates

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