Lexical representation of nouns and verbs in the late bilingual brain

J. Yang, L.H. Tan, Ping Li

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Neuropsychological and neuroimaging studies of English and other Western languages suggest that basic lexical categories such as nouns and verbs are represented in different brain circuits. By contrast, research from Chinese indicates overlapping brain regions for nouns and verbs. How does a bilingual brain support the representation and organization of nouns and verbs from typologically distinct languages such as Chinese and English? In this fMRI study we examined the neural representations of nouns and verbs in late Chinese-English bilinguals. Results indicate that the late bilinguals, not surprisingly, showed no significant differences in brain activation for nouns versus verbs in Chinese. Surprisingly, they also showed little neural differentiation of nouns and verbs in English, suggesting the use of native language mechanisms for the processing of second language stimuli. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)674-682
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neurolinguistics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Chinese-English bilinguals
  • FMRI
  • Neural representation of lexicon
  • Nouns and verbs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Lexical representation of nouns and verbs in the late bilingual brain'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this