Bilingual Access to Interlingual Homographs. An Examination by Kathryn Colleen Conklin

By Kathryn Colleen Conklin

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Disambiguating Region before after before after Sentences with equibiased homonyms Because it was kept on the back of a high shelf, the pitcher (whiskey) was often forgotten. Of course the pitcher (whiskey) was often forgotten Because it was kept on the back of a high shelf. Sentences with less frequent meaning of non-equibiased homonym When she finally served it to her guests, the port (soup) was a great success. Last night the port (soup) was a great success when she finally served it to her guests.

A set of studies by Kellas and colleagues also investigated the role of context and frequency on the activation of multiple meanings of homonyms (Martin, Vu, Kellas, & Metcalf, 1999; Paul, Kellas, Martin, & Clark, 1992; Vu & Kellas, 1999; Vu, Kellas, Petersen, & Metcalf, 2003). In two experiments Martin et al. (1999) presented participants with short passages containing homonyms. The passages either provided a strong context for the interpretation of a homonym, as shown in Table 5 (a) and (b), or provided a weak context, as illustrated in (c) and (d).

Therefore, there is no competition for selection of multiple meanings of a homonym. However, when the disambiguating region preceded the less frequent meaning of a non-equibiased homograph, fixation durations were longer than for control words. Duffy et al. argued that when a preceding disambiguating context increased the availability of the low frequency meaning, both meanings became available at the same time. This resulted in competition for selection, as evidenced by longer fixation durations at the homonym.

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