Conclusion: Results of the present study supplement existing data on the effect of a semantically based treatment for lexical retrieval by manipulating the typicality of category examples.
Bilinguals’ lexical mappings for their two languages have been found to converge toward a common naming pattern. The present paper investigates in more detail how semantic convergence is manifested in bilingual lexical knowledge. We examined how semantic convergence affects the centers and boundaries of lexical categories for common household objects for Dutch–French bilinguals. We found evidence for converging category centers for bilinguals: (1) correlations were higher between their typicality ratings for roughly corresponding categories in the two languages than between typicality ratings of monolinguals in each language, and (2) in a geometrical representation, category centers derived from their naming data in the two languages were situated closer to each other than were the corresponding monolingual category centers. We also found evidence for less complex category boundaries for bilinguals: (1) bilinguals needed fewer dimensions than monolinguals to separate their categories linearly and (2) fewer violations of similarity-based naming were observed for bilinguals than for monolinguals. Implications for theories of the bilingual lexicon are discussed.
from the Journal of Memory and Language