The impact of brief exposure to the second language on native language production: Global or item specific?

Tamar Degani, Hamutal Kreiner, Haya Ataria, Farha Khateeb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bilinguals routinely shift between their languages, changing languages between communicative settings. To test the consequences of such changes in language use, 48 Arabic-Hebrew bilinguals named pictures in Arabic (L1) before and after a brief exposure manipulation, including either reading a list of Hebrew (L2) words aloud or performing a nonlinguistic task. Half of the items post-exposure were new and half were translation equivalents of the words presented during the L2 exposure task. Further, half of the items were very low-frequency L1 words, typically replaced by borrowed L2 words. Results show that across word types bilinguals were less accurate and produced more L2 cross-language errors in their dominant L1 following brief L2 exposure. Error rates were comparable for translation equivalents and new items, but more cross-language errors were observed post-exposure on translation equivalents. These findings demonstrate the engagement of both global whole-language control mechanisms and item-based competitive processes, and highlight the importance of language context and the dynamic nature of bilingual performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-183
Number of pages31
JournalApplied Psycholinguistics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Cambridge University Press.


  • bilingual control
  • item specific
  • language shifts
  • whole language

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • General Psychology


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