Claudia Felser

Claudia Felser
Universität Potsdam · Prim: Potsdam Research Institute for Multilingualism

PhD

About

103
Publications
20,882
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4,044
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October 1997 - September 2011
University of Essex

Publications

Publications (103)
Article
Previous studies on non-native (L2) anaphor resolution suggest that L2 comprehenders are guided more strongly by discourse-level cues compared to native (L1) comprehenders. Here we examine whether and how a grammatically inappropriate antecedent’s discourse status affects the likelihood of it being considered during L1 and L2 pronoun resolution. We...
Article
Full-text available
Pronouns can sometimes covary with a non c-commanding quantifier phrase (QP). To obtain such 'telescoping' readings, a semantic representation must be computed in which the QP's semantic scope extends beyond its surface scope. Non-native speakers have been claimed to have more difficulty than native speakers deriving such non-isomorphic syntax-sema...
Article
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This study investigates native German speakers’ and bilingual Turkish/German speakers’ sensitivity to constraints on verbal agreement with pseudo-partitive subjects such as eine Packung Tabletten (“a pack of pills”). Although number agreement with the first noun phrase (headed by a container noun) is considered to be the norm, agreement with the se...
Chapter
The real-time interpretation of pronouns is affected by both structure-sensitive and non-grammatical constraints, and models of anaphor resolution make different claims about the relative weighting and/or timing of structure-sensitive constraints such as Condition B of the binding theory. Here we used an interference paradigm to examine whether, an...
Article
Turkish 3rd person plural subjects normally appear with verbs that are unmarked for number. Following earlier findings which indicate that Turkish heritage speakers (HS) accept overt plural marking more readily compared to monolingually raised Turkish speakers, the present study investigates to what extent bilingual speakers are sensitive to gramma...
Article
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Research on grammatical variation and change has traditionally been based on diachronic and synchronic corpus analysis, but the growing importance of experimental approaches to the study of language has led many researchers to combine corpus study with experimentation to systematically examine linguistic variability and stability [...]
Article
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Coordinated subjects often show variable number agreement with the finite verb, but linguistic approaches to this phenomenon have rarely been informed by systematically collected data. We report the results from three experiments investigating German speakers’ agreement preferences with complex subjects joined by the correlative conjunctions sowohl...
Chapter
Pronouns can refer to discourse entities that were introduced in the same or in a previous discourse unit; for successful pronoun resolution, the antecedent must be accessible. Focusing a potential antecedent seems to boost its accessibility when the pronoun appears in a subsequent discourse unit but lowers its accessibility when the pronoun is in...
Chapter
We report the results from two experiments on the processing of filler-gap dependencies in German using event-related potentials (ERPs). Our aim was to identify and isolate brain responses linked to semantic vs. syntactic integration processes. Using maximally parallel stimulus materials, we examined ERPs at the subcategorising verb in sentences co...
Article
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A growing body of experimental syntactic research has revealed substantial variation in the magnitude of island effects, not only across languages but also across different grammatical constructions. Adopting a well-established experimental design, the present study examines island effects in Spanish using a speeded acceptability judgment task. To...
Article
While much attention has been devoted to the cognition of aging multilingual individuals, little is known about how age affects their grammatical processing. We assessed subject-verb number-agreement processing in sixty native (L1) and sixty non-native (L2) speakers of German (age: 18-84) using a binary-choice sentence-completion task, along with v...
Article
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Studies examining the real-time application of structure-sensitive constraints in second-language (L2) sentence processing have shown that depending on the type of constraint under investigation, the constraint may be more likely, equally (un)likely, or less likely to be violated during L2 than during native (first-language, L1) processing. Several...
Article
Full-text available
Do processing resource limitations shape heritage language grammars? - Claudia Felser
Article
The appropriate use of (in-)definites can be notoriously difficult for language learners to acquire, suggesting that this linguistic domain is particularly prone to instability in language acquisition. The current study investigates whether heritage speakers also have difficulties in this domain. We report the results from a questionnaire study inv...
Article
Full-text available
Previous research has shown that during cataphoric pronoun resolution, the predictive search for an antecedent is restricted by a structure-sensitive constraint known as ‘Condition C’, such that an antecedent is only considered when the constraint does not apply. Evidence has mainly come from self-paced reading (SPR), a method which may not be able...
Preprint
Full-text available
This study investigates the processing of Turkish negative polarity items (NPIs) using a self-paced reading experiment with end-of-sentence acceptability judgements. Our participants included adult Turkish monolinguals, as well as Turkish-German early (i.e. heritage speakers) and late bilinguals. We explored whether intrusion effects from illusory...
Article
Since the Shallow Structure Hypothesis (SSH) was first put forward in 2006, it has inspired a growing body of research on grammatical processing in nonnative (L2) speakers. More than 10 years later, we think it is time for the SSH to be reconsidered in the light of new empirical findings and current theoretical assumptions about human language proc...
Article
Full-text available
The aim of our study was to examine the extent to which linguistic approaches to sentence comprehension deficits in aphasia can account for differential impairment patterns in the comprehension of wh-questions in bilingual persons with aphasia (PWA). We investigated the comprehension of subject and object wh-questions in both Turkish, a wh-in-situ...
Article
Full-text available
Previous studies have shown that multilingual speakers are influenced by their native (L1) and non-native (L2) grammars when learning a new language. But, so far, these studies have mostly used untimed metalinguistic tasks. Here we examine whether multilinguals’ prior grammars also affect their sensitivity to morphosyntactic constraints during proc...
Article
Encountering a cataphoric pronoun triggers a search for a suitable referent. Previous research indicates that this search is constrained by binding Condition C, which prohibits coreference between a cataphoric pronoun and a referential expression within its c-command domain. We report the results from a series of eye-movement monitoring and questio...
Article
We investigated the comprehension of subject-verb agreement in Turkish- German bilinguals using two tasks. The first task elicited speeded judgments to verb number violations in sentences that contained plural genitive modifiers. We addressed whether these modifiers elicited attraction errors, which have supported the use of a memory retrieval mech...
Preprint
Previous studies have shown that multilingual speakers are influenced by their native (L1) and non-native (L2) grammars when learning a new language. But so far, these studies have mostly used untimed metalinguistic tasks. Here we examine whether multilinguals’ prior grammars also affect their sensitivity to morphosyntactic constraints during proce...
Article
Full-text available
Second language speakers often struggle to apply grammatical constraints such as subject–verb agreement. One hypothesis for this difficulty is that it results from problems suppressing syntactically unlicensed constituents in working memory. We investigated which properties of these constituents make them more likely to elicit errors: their grammat...
Preprint
We investigated the comprehension of subject-verb agreement in Turkish-German bilinguals using two tasks. The first task elicited speeded judgments to verb number violations in sentences that contained plural genitive modifiers. We addressed whether these modifiers elicited attraction errors, which have supported the use of a memory retrieval mecha...
Article
The present study used event related potentials (ERPs) to investigate how native (L1) German-speaking second-language (L2) learners of English process sentences containing filler-gap dependencies such as Bill liked the house (women) that Bob built some ornaments for __ at his workplace. Using an experimental design which allowed us to dissociate fi...
Article
Purpose: The purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of healthy aging on the ability to suppress grammatically illicit antecedents during pronoun resolution. Method: In 2 reading-based acceptability–judgment experiments, younger and older speakers of German read sentences containing an object pronoun and 2 potential antecedent noun phr...
Article
Full-text available
This study investigates the comprehension of wh-questions in individuals with aphasia (IWA) speaking Turkish, a non-wh-movement language, and German, a wh-movement language. We examined six German-speaking and 11 Turkish-speaking IWA using picture-pointing tasks. Findings from our experiments show that the Turkish IWA responded more accurately to b...
Preprint
Second language (L2) speakers often struggle to apply grammatical constraints such as subject-verb agreement. One hypothesis for this difficulty is that it results from problems suppressing syntactically unlicensed constituents in working memory. We investigated which properties of these constituents make them more likely to elicit errors: their gr...
Poster
Full-text available
The current study examines whether the ability to use contextual cues to definiteness is compromised in bilingual ’heritage’ speakers who acquired a societally dominant second language alongside their home language during childhood.
Article
Effects of aging on lexical processing are well attested, but the picture is less clear for grammatical processing. Where age differences emerge, these are usually ascribed to working-memory (WM) decline. Previous studies on the influence of WM on agreement computation have yielded inconclusive results, and work on aging and subject-verb agreement...
Article
Full-text available
We examined native and non-native English speakers’ processing of indirect object wh-dependencies using a filled-gap paradigm while recording event-related potentials (ERPs). The non-native group was comprised of native German-speaking, proficient non-native speakers of English. Both participant groups showed evidence of linking fronted indirect ob...
Article
We report the results from an eye-movement monitoring study investigating native (L1) and non-native (L2) speakers’ real-time processing of antecedent-contained deletion (ACD), a type of verb phrase ellipsis in which the ellipsis gap forms part of its own antecedent. The resulting interpretation problem is traditionally thought to be solved by quan...
Article
Full-text available
We report the results from two experiments examining native and non-native German speakers’ sensitivity to crossover constraints on pronoun resolution. Our critical stimuli sentences contained personal pronouns in either strong (SCO) or weak crossover (WCO) configurations. Using eye-movement monitoring during reading and a gender-mismatch paradigm,...
Article
Aims and objectives Our study addresses the following research questions: To what extent is L2 comprehenders’ online sensitivity to morphosyntactic disambiguation cues affected by L1 background? Does noticing the error signal trigger successful reanalysis in both L1 and L2 comprehension? Can previous findings suggesting that case is a better reanal...
Article
Non-native speakers’ sensitivity to discourse-level cues in pronoun interpretation has not been widely researched. We carried out three antecedent-choice questionnaire experiments which investigate the impact of focus on within-sentence pronoun resolution in native and non-native speakers of German and native speakers of Russian. Focus was realized...
Article
We report the results from an eye-movement monitoring study that investigated late German–English bilinguals’ sensitivity to parasitic gaps inside subject islands. The online reading experiment was complemented by an offline scalar judgement task. The results from the offline task confirmed that for both native and non-native speakers, subject isla...
Poster
Effects of aging on lexical processing are well attested. The picture is less clear for grammatical processing – findings range from equal performance (Tyler et al., 2010) to age-related difficulties with complex structures (Kemper, 1986). Where differences emerge, these are usually ascribed to working-memory (WM) decline (Kemper et al., 2004). Stu...
Poster
Full-text available
Three questionnaire studies investigating how clefting and focus particles affect pronoun resolution choices
Poster
During both sentence comprehension and production, the presence of an ’intrusive’ licenser such as the plural-marked noun cabinets in (i) below often gives rise to false-positive acceptability judgements or ungrammatical production errors (Phillips et al., 2011). (i) The key to the cabinets was/*were rusty. To further test claims to the effect that...
Article
Full-text available
The present study focuses on A-scrambling in Dutch, a local word-order alternation that typically signals the discourse-anaphoric status of the scrambled constituent. We use cross-modal priming to investigate whether an A-scrambled direct object gives rise to antecedent reactivation effects in the position where a movement theory would postulate a...
Article
This article provides a selective review of recent sentence processing studies that have investigated non-native speakers' real-time comprehension of different types of discontinuous dependency in English as a second language (L2). Taken together, the results from these studies reveal a fairly systematic pattern, with L2 learners tending to show na...
Article
Full-text available
This study presents pioneering data on how adult early bilinguals (heritage speakers) and late bilingual speakers of Turkish and German process grammatical evidentiality in a visual world setting in comparison to monolingual speakers of Turkish. Turkish marks evidentiality, the linguistic reference to information source, through inflectional affixe...
Article
Full-text available
A number of recent studies have investigated how syntactic and non-syntactic constraints combine to cue memory retrieval during anaphora resolution. In this paper we investigate how syntactic constraints and gender congruence interact to guide memory retrieval during the resolution of subject pronouns. Subject pronouns are always technically ambigu...
Chapter
Language is often ambiguous. For instance, verb-preposition strings such as look up can be interpreted either as a single verb Þ preposition combination leading to a literal interpretation (e.g., to look up the chimney), or can be interpreted as a so-called phrasal verb that requires a figurative interpretation (e.g., to look up the number). Past r...
Chapter
Experimental psycholinguistics examines how mental representations of words, sentences, or larger pieces of text or discourse are created in real time during language production and comprehension. This chapter looks at recent findings from sentence processing research from a linguistic perspective and seeks to illustrate how language processing dat...
Article
Abstract We report the results from an eye-movement monitoring study investigating how native and non-native speakers of English process temporarily ambiguous sentences such as While the gentleman was eating the burgers were still being reheated in the microwave, in which an initially plausible direct-object analysis is first ruled out by a syntact...
Conference Paper
Pronouns can either be bound by a c-commanding antecedent or interpreted via discourse-based coreference assignment (e.g. Reinhart, 1983). To investigate whether nonnative speakers preferentially link ambiguous pronouns to quantificational (i.e. variable-binding) or to coreference antecedents, we carried out both an offline antecedent choice task a...
Article
Full-text available
Previous research has shown that anaphor resolution in a non-native language may be more vulnerable to interference from structurally inappropriate antecedents compared to native anaphor resolution. To test whether previous findings on reflexive anaphors generalize to non-reflexive pronouns, we carried out an eye-movement monitoring study investiga...
Article
Full-text available
The hypothesis that pronouns can be resolved via either the syntax or the discourse representation has played an important role in linguistic accounts of pronoun interpretation (e.g. Grodzinsky & Reinhart, 1993). We report the results of an eye-movement monitoring study investigating the relative timing of syntactically-mediated variable binding an...
Article
We report the results from two experiments investigating how referential context information affects native and non-native readers’ interpretation of ambiguous relative clauses in sentences such as The journalist interviewed the assistant of the inspector who was looking very serious. The preceding discourse context was manipulated such that it pro...
Technical Report
Full-text available
The present study focuses on A-scrambling in Dutch, a local word-order alternation that typically signals the discourse-anaphoric status of the scrambled constituent. We use cross-modal priming to investigate whether an A-scrambled direct object gives rise to antecedent reactivation effects in the position where a movement theory would postulate a...
Article
This article illustrates how data from language processing experiments might bear on theoretical linguistic issues and controversies. Based on the results from real-time processing studies of subject raising vs. subject control structures and successive-cyclic wh-movement in English, and of long-distance scrambling in Japanese, this article examine...
Article
This article investigates the nature of preposition copying and preposition pruning structures in present-day English. We begin by illustrating the two phenomena and consider how they might be accounted for in syntactic terms, and go on to explore the possibility that preposition copying and pruning arise for processing reasons.We then report on tw...
Article
We report the results from two eye-movement monitoring experiments examining the processing of reflexive pronouns by proficient German-speaking learners of second language (L2) English. Our results show that the nonnative speakers initially tried to link English argument reflexives to a discourse-prominent but structurally inaccessible antecedent,...
Article
Full-text available
Using the eye-movement monitoring technique in two reading comprehension experiments, this study investigated the timing of constraints on wh-dependencies (so-called island constraints) in fi rst- and second-language (L1 and L2) sentence processing. The results show that both L1 and L2 speakers of English are sensitive to extraction islands during...
Article
A new research institute is introduced here which studies the representation and processing of language in multilingual individuals, focusing on morphological and syntactic phenomena. Projects within this research institute investigate grammatical processing in different kinds of multilingual populations, in comparison to monolinguals, using curren...
Article
This study examined how 6–9 year-old English-speaking children and adults establish anaphoric dependencies during auditory sentence comprehension. Using eye-movement monitoring during listening and a corresponding sentence–picture judgment task, we investigated both the ultimate interpretation and the online processing of reflexives in comparison t...
Article
We report results from two eye-movement experiments that examined how differences in working memory (WM) capacity affect readers’ application of structural constraints on reflexive anaphor resolution during sentence comprehension. We examined whether binding Principle A, a syntactic constraint on the interpretation of reflexives, is reducible to a...
Article
Full-text available
In this study, the influence of plausibility information on the real-time processing of locally ambiguous (“garden path”) sentences in a nonnative language is investigated. Using self-paced reading, we examined how advanced Greek-speaking learners of English and native speaker controls read sentences containing temporary subject–object ambiguities,...
Article
In this study, the influence of plausibility information on the real-time processing of locally ambiguous (“garden path”) sentences in a nonnative language is investigated. Using self-paced reading, we examined how advanced Greek-speaking learners of English and native speaker controls read sentences containing temporary subject–object ambiguities,...
Article
This study investigates the degree to which referential context information influences structural ambiguity resolution preferences in non-native sentence comprehension, using both an off-line questionnaire and an on-line self-paced reading task. The critical target sentences contained prepositional phrases (PPs) modifying either the verb phrase (VP...
Article
This study investigates the extent to which ESL learners from different language backgrounds are sensitive to subject-verb agreement and case errors in L2 sentence processing. Proficient German, Japanese and Chinese-speaking ESL learners participated in a speeded grammaticality judgement task and an untimed sentence completion task. Despite demonst...
Article
This article presents a selective overview of studies that have investigated how advanced adult second language (L2) learners process morphologically complex words. The studies reported here have used different kinds of experimental tasks (including speeded grammaticality judgments, lexical decision, and priming) to examine three domains of morphol...
Article
Full-text available
We report the results from two experiments investigating proficient Japanese-speaking learners’ processing of reflexive object pronouns in English as a second language. Experiment 1 used a timed grammaticality judgement task to assess learners’ sensitivity to binding Principle A under processing pressure, and Experiment 2 investigated the time-cour...
Article
This article presents a selective overview of studies that have investigated auditory language processing in children and late second-language (L2) learners using online methods such as event-related potentials (ERPs), eye-movement monitoring, or the cross-modal priming paradigm. Two grammatical phenomena are examined in detail, children's and adul...
Article
Full-text available
The present study examines whether children reactivate a moved constituent at its gap position and how children’s more limited working memory span affects the way they process filler-gap dependencies. 46 5–7year-old children and 54 adult controls participated in a cross-modal picture priming experiment and underwent a standardized working memory te...
Article
Full-text available
The present study examines whether children reactivate a moved constituent at its gap position and how children's more limited working memory span affects the way they process filler-gap dependencies. Forty-six 5-7 year-old children and 54 adult controls participated in a cross-modal picture priming experiment (McKee, Nicol, & McDaniel, 1993) testi...
Article
Full-text available
This study investigates the real-time processing of wh-dependencies by advanced Greek-speaking learners of English using a crossmodal picture priming task. Participants were asked to respond to different types of picture target presented either at structurally defined gap positions, or at pre-gap control positions, while listening to sentences cont...
Article
Following several decades of research on native language (L1) processing, psycholinguists have more recently begun to investigate how non-native language (L2) speakers comprehend and process language in real time. Regarding the traditional assumption that L2 learners have 'difficulty with grammar', this new research has revealed some unexpected sim...
Article
The ability to process the linguistic input in real time is crucial for successfully acquiring a language, and yet little is known about how language learners comprehend or produce language in real time. Against this background, we have conducted a detailed study of grammatical processing in language learners using experimental psycholinguistic tec...
Article
The core idea that we argued for in the target article was that grammatical processing in a second language (L2) is fundamentally different from grammatical processing in one's native (first) language (L1). Our major source of evidence for this claim comes from experimental psycholinguistic studies investigating morphological and syntactic processi...