Edited by Hye K. Pae
[Bilingual Processing and Acquisition 7] 2018
► pp. 245–266
This study examined the possible effects of learners’ first language (L1) and learning context on the mental structures of second language (L2) polysemous words: the English prepositions at, in, and on. The study found that Japanese learners of English as a foreign language (EFL) who had lived in an English-speaking country had developed native-like mental structures of the three prepositions. By contrast, those with little or no experience living in an English-speaking country showed native-like mental structures only for on – the preposition denoting the most concrete notion among the three prepositions. These findings suggest that learners’ L1 may affect their mental representations of L2 prepositions, particularly those denoting abstract notions, but significant L2 exposure can diminish such L1 effects.