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The two experiments described in this article are focused on semantic priming in the context of lexical ambiguity and hierarchic model of mental lexicon. For both experiments, the verification method was a decision taken in the process of translating a sentence from Polish (L1) to English (L2). The decision was a result of solving dilemma of interpretation of the particular sentence that included homonym. The sentences used in the experiments were prepared in a manner that allowed them to be interpreted in at least two ways – each way being a direct result of interpretation of a ambiguous word meaning included in a sentence. In this study the secondary meanings of the homonyms were primed. In the first experiment the primes were presented in L2 – therefore this part of the study was concentrated on interlingual aspect of semantic priming. The second experiment was focused on intralingual aspect of semantic priming and the primes were presented in L1. The results of both experiments have shown the effect of semantic priming of ambiguous words’ meanings when translating from one language to another. Participants used significantly more often (when translating sentences from Polish to English) those English words the meaning of which was primed in the experimental groups during the first phase of the conducted experiments. We discuss the results in the context of the hierarchic model of mental lexicon in the case of bilingualism and we suggest possible paths for future research.
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