Gaps in second language processing

Department of Language and Linguistics, University of Essex, Colchester, England, United Kingdom
Studies in Second Language Acquisition (Impact Factor: 1.11). 03/2005; 27(1):53-78. DOI: 10.1017/S0272263105050035


Four groups of second language (L2) learners of English from different language backgrounds (Chinese, Japanese, German, and Greek) and a group of native speaker controls participated in an online reading time experiment with sentences involving long-distance whdependencies. Although the native speakers showed evidence of making use of intermediate syntactic gaps during processing, the L2 learners appeared to associate the fronted wh-phrase directly with its lexical subcategorizer, regardless of whether the subjacency constraint was operative in their native language. This finding is argued to support the hypothesis that nonnative comprehenders underuse syntactic information in L2 processing.

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Available from: Theodoros Marinis,
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    • "Using cognates, Miller (2014) examines effects of lexical access on the L2 processing of whdependencies . Previous cross-modal priming studies on gap filling in L2 speakers found that adult L2 readers do not posit syntactic traces or gaps but seem to prefer to integrate the whfiller with the verb directly (Marinis et al., 2005; Felser & Roberts, 2007; yet see Plitsiakis & Marinis, 2013). For instance, Felser & Roberts (2007) presented picture probes that were to be categorized by participants as " alive " or " not alive " at two points when they heard sentences like " John saw the peacock to which the small penguin gave the nice [#1] birthday present [#2] in the garden last weekend " . "
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    DESCRIPTION: A self-paced reading study on effects of lexical frequency on L2 sentence processing
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    • "For example , information about the identity of a speaker (age, gender, etc.) is encoded incrementally along with other pragmatic, semantic and syntactic information. It is important to stress that non-native speakers with enough proficiency eventually process the linguistic information contained in a sentence, otherwise offline comprehension should be poorer in L2 than in L1, which is not the case (Felser and Roberts, 2007; Marinis et al., 2005). The question is whether they do so in a similar manner as native speakers. "
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    ABSTRACT: The present study investigated how pragmatic information is integrated during L2 sentence comprehension. We put forward that the differences often observed between L1 and L2 sentence processing may reflect differences on how various types of information are used to process a sentence, and not necessarily differences between native and non-native linguistic systems. Based on the idea that when a cue is missing or distorted, one relies more on other cues available, we hypothesised that late bilinguals favour the cues that they master during sentence processing. To verify this hypothesis we investigated whether late bilinguals take the speaker's identity (inferred by the voice) into account when incrementally processing speech and whether this affects their online interpretation of the sentence. To do so, we adapted Van Berkum et al.'s (2008) study in which sentences with either semantic violations or pragmatic inconsistencies were presented. While both the native and the non-native groups showed a similar response to semantic violations (N400), their response to speakers' inconsistencies slightly diverged; late bilinguals showed a positivity much earlier than native speakers (LPP). These results suggest that, like native speakers, late bilinguals process semantic and pragmatic information incrementally; however, what seems to differ between L1 and L2 processing is the time-course of the different processes. We propose that this difference may originate from late bilinguals' sensitivity to pragmatic information and/or their ability to efficiently make use of the information provided by the sentence context to generate expectations in relation to pragmatic information during L2 sentence comprehension. In other words, late bilinguals may rely more on speaker identity than native speakers when they face semantic integration difficulties. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
    Neuropsychologia 06/2015; 75. DOI:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2015.06.027 · 3.30 Impact Factor
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    • "Therefore, longer reading latencies are predicted at that in the sentence containing hypothesized intermediate traces (sentence 4a), compared to the sentence with no hypothesized intermediate traces. Marinis et al. ( 2005 ) found longer reading latencies for the complementizer in the native-speaker group but not in any of the L2 groups in the study (Greek, German, Chinese, or Japanese). The position of the reading latencies was identical between (4a) and (4b); the complementizer that , and the phrase before and after it were also identical— the doctor argued that the rude patient had angered . "

    Methods in Bilingual Reading Comprehension Research, Edited by R.R. Heredia, J. Altarriba, A.B. Cieslicka, 01/2015; Springer.
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