Document Type: Original Article


English Department, Najafabad Branch, Islamic Azad University, Isfahan, Iran


According to a basic prediction made by the revised hierarchical model (RHM,Kroll & Stewart, 1994), there is no L2 conceptual connection at the beginning
stages of language learning as L2 learners mostly rely on L1 conceptual connections to retrieve the meaning of the L2 words.With increasing proficiency, however, there would be a direct access from L2 to the conceptual system. Available literature challenges this hypothesis, as it shows the existence of the L2 conceptual
connections from early stages of L2 acquisition (Duyck&Brysbaert, 2004). There is one study which supports this hypothesis however, it is problematic in the
sense that it used a long prime exposure duration (Basnight-Brown &Altarriba, 2007).
In an attempt to reevaluate the prediction of this model, two groups of highly proficient and two groups of elementaryPersian learners of English were tested
on noncognate stimuli with lexical decision task in both forward and backward direction. The results obtained for elementary L2 learners were consistent with
RHM. The data showed the presence of strong L1 conceptual connections and the absence of L2 conceptual connections at this level of proficiency. However, the
pattern obtained for highly proficient L2 learners could not be interpretedin terms of the model.


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