Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name




First Advisor

Buchanan, Lori


bilingual, L1, L2, lexical processing, word frequency effect, word recognition



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


The current study examined the effect of differential word frequency on the relationship of lexical entries between the primary and secondary language. Ninety Urdu-English bilingual participants were used, and their performance was compared to forty-five English monolinguals matched for age and education. The task for both participant groups was a lexical decision task with 60 high and 60 low frequency English words. The stimulus set consisted of four frequency conditions High English-High Urdu, High English-Low Urdu, Low English-High Urdu and Low English-Low Urdu. A general frequency effect was observed – all participants responded faster to high frequency targets than low than low frequency target words. There was also a main effect of language experience with bilinguals producing longer reaction times than monolinguals. In addition, a frequency effect was observed in response times for high frequency English words as a function of their Urdu pair frequency. These results reveal a cross language frequency differential effect consistent with models proposing non-selective access of lexical processing in bilinguals.