Phonological processing in Chinese-English bilingual biscriptals: an fMRI study

Neuroimage. 2005 Nov 15;28(3):579-87. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2005.06.057. Epub 2005 Aug 29.


Different activation loci have been reported for language processing in unilingual Chinese and unilingual English participants, as well as in bilingual readers of English and French, two alphabetic languages. Nevertheless, the extant imaging work on Mandarin-English bilinguals favors common neural substrates for English and Chinese, languages with contrasting oral and written forms. We investigated the phonological processes in reading for English-Chinese biscriptals using a homophone matching task with parallel behavioral (n = 28) and fMRI (n = 6) experiments. Unlike previous reports, we observed distinct regions of activation for Mandarin in the left and right frontal lobes, the left temporal lobe, and the right occipital lobe, plus distinct regions of activation for English bilaterally in both the frontal and parietal lobes. The implications of these novel findings are discussed with reference to language representation in bilinguals.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Female
  • Fixation, Ocular / physiology
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Language*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Multilingualism*
  • Psycholinguistics
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Reading*
  • Speech Perception / physiology*