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Journal of Psycholinguistic Research

, Volume 45, Issue 5, pp 1219–1245 | Cite as

Multiple Translations in Bilingual Memory: Processing Differences Across Concrete, Abstract, and Emotion Words

  • Dana M. Basnight-BrownEmail author
  • Jeanette Altarriba
Article

Abstract

Historically, the manner in which translation ambiguity and emotional content are represented in bilingual memory have often been ignored in many theoretical and empirical investigations, resulting in these linguistic factors related to bilingualism being absent from even the most promising models of bilingual memory representation. However, in recent years it was reported that the number of translations a word has across languages influences the speed with which bilinguals translate concrete and abstract words from one language into another (Tokowicz and Kroll in Lang Cogn Process 22:727–779, 2007). The current work examines how the number of translations that characterize a word influences bilingual lexical organization and the processing of concrete, abstract, and emotional stimuli. In Experiment 1, Spanish-English bilinguals translated concrete and abstract words with one and more than one translation. As reported by Tokowicz and Kroll, concreteness effects emerged only when words had more than one translation across languages. In Experiment 2, bilinguals translated emotion words with more than one translation. Concreteness effects emerged in both language directions for words with more than one translation, and in the L1–L2 language direction for words with a single translation across languages. These findings are discussed in terms of how multiple translations, specifically for emotion words, might be incorporated into current models of bilingual memory representation.

Keywords

Bilingualism Multiple translations Working memory Concrete  Abstract Emotion 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University at Albany, State University of New YorkAlbanyUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUnited States International UniversityNairobiKenya

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