Introduction published in:Parsing to Learn
Edited by Laurent Dekydtspotter and Claire Renaud
[Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism 4:2] 2014
► pp. 167–191
[ p. 167 ]Accessing and maintaining referents in L2 processing of wh-dependencies
This study considers the role of lexical access in the activation and maintenance of referents interacting with syntactic computations during the online processing of wh-dependencies in second-language French by beginning (N = 39), low intermediate (N = 40), and high intermediate (N = 35) learners. Two computer-paced reading tasks involving concurrent picture classification were designed to investigate trace reactivation during sentence processing: The first task targeted sentences that contained indirect object relative clauses, whereas the second task involved indirect object cleft sentences. Response time profiles for sentences containing English-French cognates as antecedents were compared with those for sentences with noncognate vocabulary. All learner participants produced differing response patterns for cognate and noncognate items. Intermediate learners’ response patterns were consistent with trace reactivation for cognate items only; noncognate items induced inhibitions or erratic response patterns. Additionally, a (French-English bilingual) native speaker control group (N = 35) showed the predicted response pattern with the noncognate items only. These findings indicate that the role of lexical access in sentence processing merits further consideration.
Keywords: sentence processing, L2 French, filler-gap dependencies, lexical access
Published online: 27 May 2014
Cited by other publications
Castro, Tammer, Jason Rothman & Marit Westergaard
Dekydtspotter, Laurent & Hyun-Kyoung Seo
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