Bilingual object naming: A connectionist model

Shin Yi Fang, Benjamin D. Zinszer, Barbara C. Malt, Ping Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Patterns of object naming often differ between languages, but bilingual speakers develop convergent naming patterns in their two languages that are distinct from those of monolingual speakers of each language. This convergence appears to reflect interactions between lexical representations for the two languages. In this study, we developed a self-organizing connectionist model to simulate semantic convergence in the bilingual lexicon and investigate the mechanisms underlying this semantic convergence. We examined the similarity of patterns in the simulated data to empirical data from past research, and we identified how semantic convergence was manifested in the simulated bilingual lexical knowledge. Furthermore, we created impaired models in which components of the network were removed so as to examine the importance of the relevant components on bilingual object naming. Our results demonstrate that connections between two languages' lexicons can be established through the simultaneous activations of related words in the two languages. These connections between languages allow the outputs of their lexicons to become more similar, that is, to converge. Our model provides a basis for future computational studies of how various input variables may affect bilingual naming patterns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number644
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Issue numberMAY
StatePublished - 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology


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