Collocational Processing in Two Languages: A psycholinguistic comparison of monolinguals and bilinguals

Document Type: Original Article


Department of Applied Linguistics, Faculty of Humanities, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran


With the renewed interest in the field of second language learning for the knowledge of collocating words, research findings in favour of holistic processing of formulaic language could support the idea that these language units facilitate efficient language processing. This study investigated the difference between processing of a first language (L1) and a second language (L2) of congruent collocations. A read-aloud task was administered to monolinguals (Persian) and advanced bilinguals (Persian-English) to assess their reaction time (RT) to collocations in comparison to non-collocations. With respect to the frequency-based approaches to the study of collocations, a list of high frequency items and a second list of non-collocations were compiled. It was hypothesised that when bilinguals are at advanced levels of proficiency their processing rate should not differ significantly from monolinguals. The study also examined the assumptions of dual-route system model (Wray, 2002). The data was analysed using linear mixed-effects modelling. The results suggested no advantage for processing of collocations over non-collocations, whereas collocational processing displayed higher response rate for monolinguals in comparison to bilinguals which contradicted our hypotheses and is in line with dual-route model assumptions.