Transposed Letter (TL) effects refer to the well-established finding in Indo-European languages that a transposed-letter non-word (e.g., JUGDE) facilitates the recognition of a related real word target (JUDGE) in comparison with a substituted-letter non-word (e.g., JUFTE). In Semitic languages, like Arabic, the TL effects is more evasive obtaining with tasks that do not trigger lexical access processes (e.g. Same-Different Matching Task), but not with those that engage lexical access (e.g., Lexical Decision). In this study we evaluatee TL effects in Arabic-English bilinguals of varying proficiency levels in two same different matching experiments and two lexical decision experiments. The results of the same different matching task revealed a significant TL priming effects modulated by allography in Arabic. In contrast, no TL-priming effects with the English materials. The results of the lexical decision task showed a reliable TL priming effect that was not modulated by allography in Arabic as well as a significant TL effect for English. Thus for the same-different matching task which does not trigger lexical access process Arabic-English bilinguals behaved like Arab monolinguals with Arabic and like non-proficient learners of English. For the lexical decision task which draws on lexical knowledge, Arabic-English monolinguals behaved like English monolinguals showing TL priming effects in both languages and ignoring at the same time the low-level visual cues supplied by allography.
Sami Boudelaa, United Arab Emirates University, United Arab Emirates