Picture naming in bilingual and monolingual Chinese speakers: Capturing similarity and variability

Mohammad Momenian, Mehdi Bakhtiar, Yu Kei Chan, Suet Lin Cheung, Brendan Stuart Weekes

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Picture-naming latency differs across languages in bilingual speakers. We compared the effects of key psycholinguistic variables on picture naming among two groups of Chinese bilingual speakers and Mandarin monolingual speakers. First, we asked bilingual and monolingual speakers to estimate the age of acquisition, familiarity, visual complexity, name agreement, and imageability of a set of object and action pictures in Mandarin and Cantonese. Next, we recruited 60 Cantonese-English speakers, 50 Mandarin-Cantonese bilingual speakers, and 30 monolingual speakers who named the object and action pictures in Cantonese and Mandarin, respectively. We observed variability in the effects of item-level characteristics among groups, suggesting an interaction between item-level and individual-level characteristics as predicted. This variability was higher in bilingual speakers who spoke similar languages (Mandarin-Cantonese) in comparison to those speaking more distant languages (Cantonese-English). Our results suggest that monolingual norms and bilingual norms capture the same amount of variability; however, grammatical class interactions with other variables are explained differentially by the bilingual and monolingual norms. We discuss the implications of our findings in terms of norming studies for timed picture naming and effects of bilingualism on language processing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1677-1688
Number of pages12
JournalBehavior Research Methods
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


  • Action naming
  • Bilingual
  • Cantonese
  • LMEM
  • Mandarin
  • Monolingual
  • Object naming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)


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