Using a masked phonological priming paradigm, Brysbaert, Van Dyck and Van de Poel (1999) showed that Dutch-French bilinguals perform better at identifying tachistoscopically presented L2 words (e.g. oui [yes]) when those words are primed by L1 words or nonwords that are homophonic to the L2 target word according to the L1 grapheme-phoneme conversion rules (e.g. wie [who]). They noted that this priming effect was smaller for balanced bilinguals than for less proficient bilinguals, although the interaction failed to reach significance. Findings of Gollan, Forster and Frost (1997) suggest that this could be attributed to a greater reliance on phonology in L2 reading, caused by a smaller proficiency in this language. However, in this study we show that the Dutch-French cross-lingual phonological priming effect is equally large for perfectly balanced and less proficient bilinguals. Our findings are in line with more recent work of Van Wijnendaele and Brysbaert (2002)
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