Chapter published in:Research on Second Language Processing and Processing Instruction: Studies in honor of Bill VanPatten
Edited by Michael J. Leeser, Gregory D. Keating and Wynne Wong
[Studies in Bilingualism 62] 2021
► pp. 184–199
Contextual effects in processing OVS constructions in Spanish
A partial replication of VanPatten and Houston (1998) and Malovrh (2006)
This study investigates the contextual constraint principle in input processing, which states that learners may rely less on a first-noun-as-subject/agent strategy if preceding context constrains the interpretation of a clause or sentence. Second language learners of Spanish (N = 39) completed a sentence interpretation task in which they heard OVS sentences in various context conditions: neutral versus constraining context appearing prior to and after OVS clauses. Results revealed greater accuracy on OVS sentence interpretation when constraining context was available, particularly when it appeared prior to the target OVS clause. The results suggest that first noun reliance is significantly weakened when constraining context is available, and that the contextual constraint principle should be expanded to include context in post target-clause position.
Keywords: first noun principle, contextual constraint principle, input processing, OVS word order, Spanish, sentence interpretation task
Published online: 17 March 2021
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