Of Black Sheep and White Crows: Is Bilinguals’ Memory for Figurative Meaning Language-Specific
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Whereas several studies have examined figurative language comprehension in single language users, there is a relative lack of empirical work on this topic in multiple language users. Seeking to extend the scope of research on the bilingual mental lexicon beyond its previous single word emphasis, the present research examined incidental recall of familiar two-word idiomatic expressions in 22 Russian-English proficient bilinguals as a function of whether the idiomatic meaning of each expression was present in both languages, only in one language, or in neither language. It was hypothesized that phrases with a shared figurative meaning in both languages would be retrieved more easily than those for which a figurative meaning existed only in one language or in neither language. This expectation was confirmed. The findings are interpreted as consistent with a bilingual adaptation of the dual coding model of memory.
different categories of figurative language
dual coding model of memory
Pritchett, Lena K (2010). Of Black Sheep and White Crows: Is Bilinguals’ Memory for Figurative Meaning Language-Specific. Honors and Undergraduate Research. Available electronically from