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Repetition priming within and between languages in verb generation: Evidence for shared verb concepts

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Although translation equivalents for concrete nouns are known to have shared core conceptual representations in bilingual memory (Francis, 1999), the status of translation-equivalent verbs has not been systematically tested. Three repetition-priming experiments using a verb generation task were used to determine whether verbs have shared representations across languages and to identify the processes facilitated in repeated verb generation. In Experiment 1 fluent Spanish–English bilingual speakers exhibited repetition priming both within and between languages, but between-language priming was weaker. In Experiment 2 performance of non-bilingual English and Spanish speakers was equivalent to that of bilingual speakers responding in their dominant language. Experiment 3 used manipulations meant to isolate noun comprehension, verb concept selection, and verb production. The between-language priming in Experiments 1 and 3 indicates that verb concepts are shared across languages and that verb concept selection exhibits facilitation. Experiment 3 showed that the greater within-language priming was due primarily to facilitation of verb production processes.
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Keywords: Bilingualism; Conceptual representation; Implicit memory; Repetition priming; Verb generation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Psychology, University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX, USA

Publication date: May 1, 2012

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