Cross-script phonological priming for Japanese-English bilinguals: Evidence for integrated phonological representations

Mariko Nakayama*, Christopher R. Sears, Yasushi Hino, Stephen J. Lupker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Previous masked phonological priming studies with bilinguals whose languages are written in the same script (e.g., Dutch-French bilinguals) strongly suggest that phonological representations for the two languages are integrated, based on the fact that phonological activation created by reading a word in one language facilitates word identification in the other language. The present research examined whether the same is true for different-script bilinguals (Japanese-English bilinguals). In this study, participants made lexical decisions to English targets (e.g., GUIDE) that were primed by three types of masked Japanese primes: cognate translation equivalents (e.g.,(Chinese Source) /gaido/, guide), phonologically similar but conceptually unrelated words (e.g.,(Chinese Source) /saido/, side), and phonologically and conceptually unrelated words (e.g.,(Chinese Source) /koRru/, call). There were significant priming effects for cognate translation primes (94 ms) and phonologically similar primes (30 ms). Whereas the cognate translation priming effect was modulated by target frequency and L2 proficiency, the phonological priming effect was not. Our results suggest that phonological representations for different languages are integrated even if the languages in question use different scripts. The role of phonological activation in bilingual word recognition is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1563-1583
Number of pages21
JournalLanguage and Cognitive Processes
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Dec


  • Bilingual visual word recognition
  • Lexical decision
  • Masked phonological priming
  • Masked translation priming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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