Aims and objectives/purpose/research questions: Previous studies in pairs of typologically distant languages showed that hemispheric processing of metaphoric expressions differs in a native versus second language. The current research explored this finding in a pair of typologically close languages, Arabic and Hebrew. Design/methodology/approach: Forty-six Arabic native speakers who were proficient in Hebrew (second language; 30 women, aged 19–28) participated in a divided visual field (DVF) experiment. They were presented with conventional metaphors, literal expressions, and unrelated word pairs and asked to indicate whether the word pairs formed a meaningful expression. Participants were tested in spoken Arabic, literary Arabic, and Hebrew in separate blocks. Data and analysis: Mean reaction times and accuracy were analyzed using repeated-measures three-way analysis of variance, with language, visual field, and expression type as independent variables. Findings/conclusions: In contrast to previously reported findings, a left-hemisphere advantage or a bilateral pattern of processing was observed for conventional metaphors in both varieties of Arabic and in Hebrew, suggesting similar hemispheric processing in native and second language. Originality: Metaphor processing is examined in a pair of typologically close languages. Significance/implications: Our findings (in a pair of typologically close languages) differ from those previously reported in pairs of less similar languages, suggesting a modulatory role of language similarity in hemispheric processing of second-language metaphors.
- figurative language
- metaphor processing