Investigating the Speed of Lexical Activation in the Bilinguals' L1 and L2 through Forward and Backward Translation Task

Bilingualism, bilingual language processing, second language activation, Arabic-English bilinguals


  • Saddam H.M. Issa
    Research Scholar, Department of Linguistics, University of Mysore, India
  • Shyamala K.C Professor of Language Pathology (Retd), AIISH, Mysore, India
March 29, 2021


The relationship between lexical activation in L1 and L2 was investigated using a backward and forward translation task. Bilingual Arabic-English speakers first translated forward from L1 to L2, then backward from L2 to L1. Two groups of participants were established (high and low proficient bilinguals). The translation task included words that were being translated in both L1 and L2. The goal of the study was to see how strong the relation between L1 and L2 translation is. The findings of the study revealed that bilingual memory relations are asymmetric: translation from L1 to L2 is conceptually mediated, but the translation from L2 to L1 is lexically mediated.