The individual differences of bilingual readers when using phonological information in word identification



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Two theories have been proposed to explain how readers access the mental lexicon through written words: phonological mediation theory suggests that the sound of words activates the meaning of words; direct access theory suggests that the orthographic representation of words activates the meaning. Prior work has demonstrated that readers rely on phonological mediation in both alphabetic languages (e.g., English), and in less phonologically predictable logographic languages (e.g., Chinese); however, little research has investigated the relationship between bilingual readers’ phonological activation in both languages. Therefore, the current study assessed bilingual readers’ reliance on the phonological route for both English and Chinese reading. We hypothesized that readers who show a strong reliance on the phonological route in one language will show a similarly strong reliance on it in their other language. Replicating prior work, our study showed that in both Chinese and English tasks, readers made slower and less accurate judgments on homophone distractors. However, we did not observe a significant correlation between individual’s reliance on phonological routes in different languages.



Phonology, Bilingual, Chinese, Silent reading