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The role of orthography in second-language spoken word production: Evidence from Tibetan Chinese bilinguals

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2597-2604
Number of pages8
JournalQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Issue number11
Early online date31 May 2019
DateAccepted/In press - 23 Apr 2019
DateE-pub ahead of print - 31 May 2019
DatePublished (current) - 1 Nov 2019


Evidence suggests that spoken language production involves involuntary access to orthographic representations, both in languages with alphabetic and non-alphabetic scripts. An unexplored question is whether the role of orthography varies as a function of the language being native or non-native to the individual. Native (L1) and non-native (L2) languages differ in important aspects, that is, lexical representations in L2 might be less well established, but acquired at least partly via reading, and these unique features of non-native languages may contribute to a fundamental difference in how spelling and sound interact in production. We investigated an orthographic impact on spoken production with Tibetan Chinese bilinguals who named coloured line drawings of objects with Chinese adjective-noun phrases. Colour and object names were orthographically related or unrelated. Even though none of the participants were aware of the orthographic manipulation, orthographic overlap generated a facilitatory effect. In conjunction with earlier findings from native speakers on the identical task, we conclude that orthographic information is activated in spoken word production regardless of whether the response language is native or non-native.

    Research areas

  • spoken production, non-native spoken production, orthography, colored object naming task, Chinese, bilingualism

    Structured keywords

  • Language
  • Cognitive Science

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