Sentence context modulates visual word recognition and translation in bilinguals

Janet G. van Hell, Annette M.B. de Groot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

143 Scopus citations


The influence of sentence context constraint on subsequent processing of concrete and abstract cognates and noncognates was tested in three experiments. Target words were preceded by a predictive, high constraint sentence context, by a congruent, low constraint sentence context, or were presented in isolation. Dutch-English bilinguals performed lexical decision in their second language (L2), or translated target words in forward (from L1 to L2) or in backward (from L2 to L1) direction. After reading a high constraint sentence context, cognate and concreteness effects disappeared in lexical decision and strongly decreased in both translation tasks. In contrast, low constraint sentences did not influence cognate and concreteness effects. These results suggest that semantically rich sentences modulate cross-language interaction during word recognition and word translation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)431-451
Number of pages21
JournalActa Psychologica
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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