In faint praise of folly
A critical review of native/non-native speaker comparisons, with examples from native and bilingual processing of French complex syntax
This study critically examines the widespread practice of comparing the linguistic processes and representations of non-native speakers with those of natives. We argue that, in some respects, the method yields benefits, while in others it does not serve the interests of research into the nature of second language acquisition and bilingualism. We go on to consider certain analytical approaches that skirt the hazards of the method. The potential payoffs of native/non-native comparisons are illustrated in a priming study of monolingual and bilingual processing of ambiguity in complex French syntax (Gertken 2013).
Keywords: psycholinguistics, second language acquisition, second language user, comparative methods, French, bilingualism, native speaker
Published online: 18 December 2013
Cited by 25 other publications
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