University of Pittsburgh
The cost of translation ambiguity for second language processing
Many words in a given language can be translated in more than one way into another language. This phenomenon, known as “translation ambiguity”, causes difficulty in second language processing. Such difficulty has been reported for learners at the beginning stages of acquisition (e.g., Degani et al., 2014) as well as speakers of intermediate proficiency (e.g., Eddington & Tokowicz, 2013), and even balanced bilinguals (e.g., Boada et al., 2013). Translation ambiguity has also been demonstrated in a variety of cross-language pairs (e.g., Prior et al., 2007). In this presentation, I will discuss differences in the types of translation ambiguity across languages, focusing especially on the difference between Mandarin Chinese, Dutch, German, and English, and will review the literature on translation ambiguity and its cost for second language processing.