Masked translation priming effects were examined for Japanese-English bilinguals using both cognate and noncognate translation equivalents. In Experiment 1, L1 primes and L2 targets were used to examine translation priming effects as a function of target frequency and bilinguals' L2 proficiency. Translation priming effects for cognates were significantly larger than for noncognates, replicating the cognate priming advantage previously reported with different-script bilinguals. In addition, translation priming effects were significantly larger for low- than for high-frequency targets and for less- than for more-proficient bilinguals, whereas the size of the cognate priming advantage was unaffected by either target frequency or L2 proficiency. In Experiment 2, cognate translation priming effects were tested in the L2-L1 direction. There was a significant cognate translation priming effect regardless of L2 proficiency. These results are consistent with the phonological account of the cognate priming advantage, which proposes that cognate translation priming effects are due to the additive effects of phonological and conceptual factors.
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