Cross-script L1–L2 and L2–L1 masked translation priming and phonological priming: Evidence from unbalanced Korean–English bilinguals

Jung Hyun Lim, Kiel Christianson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims: Despite a history of research in translation-equivalent priming (either cognate or noncognate and phonological priming with cross-script languages), research with Korean–English bilinguals is very scarce. In this study, we report two masked-priming lexical decision tasks in both directions with Korean–English unbalanced bilinguals, investigating whether cross-language activation occurs depending on different types of cognate, noncognate, and homophone prime–target pairs, the degree of phonological similarity between prime and target, and how L2 proficiency influences each type of priming. Methodology: Two experiments were conducted using a masked translation priming paradigm with unbalanced Korean–English bilinguals: Experiment 1 in the L2–L1 direction and Experiment 2 in the L1–L2 direction. Each experiment used a total of 96 prime–target pairs of cognates, noncognates, and homophones, and 60 subjects for each experiment were asked to judge whether the items were real words or not in a lexical decision task. Data and analysis: Linear mixed-effects models were used to investigate the effects of priming in each condition, the effect of phonological similarity on cognate translation priming, and L2 proficiency. Findings/conclusions: Our results showed that both cognate translation priming and noncognate translation priming arose in the L1–L2 direction, but the phonological priming was not found. In the L2–L1 direction, on the contrary, cognate translation priming and phonological priming effects were observed, but not the noncognate translation priming. Also, the degree of phonological similarity influenced the magnitude of cognate translation priming effects in both directions with a different pattern, supporting for the phonological overlap account between different-script languages. The current study is compatible with the language nonselective activation view and suggests the shared phonological representations even between different-script languages. The results are discussed within several current bilingual lexical processing models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)862-881
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Bilingualism
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2023


  • Korean–English bilinguals
  • Nonselective lexical access
  • cognate translation priming effect
  • cross-script languages
  • noncognate translation priming
  • phonological overlap account
  • phonological priming effect
  • phonological similarity
  • temporal delay hypothesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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