The Comprehension of Words and Sentences in Two Languages

Judith F. Kroll, Paola E. Dussias

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

29 Scopus citations


This chapter reviews recent developments on the comprehension of words and sentences in two languages, which show that the lexicon and grammar have more in common than previously understood. It focuses primarily on comprehension in relatively proficient bilinguals, and reports the results of studies on second language (L2) learners where those results hold important theoretical implications for understanding bilingual performance. The chapter offers a brief review of bilingual word recognition, which focuses primarily on visual word recognition. It discusses the shallow structure hypothesis, a proposal formulated to account for presumed differences in native and nonnative syntactic processing. Recent neurophysiological evidence suggesting striking similarities between native speakers and L2 learners during the processing of syntactic violations and ambiguity resolution are also presented, followed by a brief review on the influence of the L2 on first language (L1) syntactic processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Handbook of Bilingualism and Multilingualism
Subtitle of host publicationSecond Edition
PublisherJohn Wiley and Sons
Number of pages28
ISBN (Print)9781444334906
StatePublished - Oct 3 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Arts and Humanities


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