Bilingual vocabulary size and lexical reading in Italian

Silvia Primativo, Pasquale Rinaldi, Shaunna O'Brien, Despina Paizi, Lisa S. Arduino, Cristina Burani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the present study we investigated how the vocabulary size of English-Italian bilinguals affects reading aloud in Italian (L2) modulating the reader's sensitivity to lexical aspects of the language. We divided adult bilinguals in two groups according to their vocabulary size (Larger - LV, and smaller - SV), and compared their naming performance to that of native Italian (NI) readers. In Experiment 1 we investigated the lexicality and word frequency effects in reading aloud. Similarly to NI, both groups of bilinguals showed these effects. In Experiment 2 we investigated stress assignment - which is not predictable by rule - to Italian words. The SV group made more stress errors in reading words with a non-dominant stress pattern compared to the LV group. The results suggest that the size of the reader's L2 lexicon affects the probability of correct reading aloud.Overall, the results indicate that proficient adult bilinguals show a similar sensibility to the statistical and distributional properties of the language as compared to Italian monolinguals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)554-562
Number of pages9
JournalActa Psychologica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013


  • Bilingualism
  • Lexical effects
  • Reading aloud
  • Vocabulary size
  • Word stress assignment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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