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Constraints on L2 learners’ processing of wh- dependencies: evidence from eye-movements

Cunnings, I., Batterham, C., Felser, C. and Clahsen, H. (2010) Constraints on L2 learners’ processing of wh- dependencies: evidence from eye-movements. In: VanPatten, B. and Jegerski, J. (eds.) Research in Second Language Processing and Parsing. John Benjamins Publishing Company, pp. 87-110. ISBN 9789027253156

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Abstract/Summary

Using the eye movement monitoring technique, the present study examined whether wh-dependency formation is sensitive to island constraints in second language (L2) sentence comprehension, and whether the presence of an intervening relative clause island has any effects on learners’ ability to ultimately resolve long wh-dependencies. Participants included proficient learners of L2 English from typologically different language backgrounds (German, Chinese), as well as a group of native English-speaking controls. Our results indicate that both the learners and the native speakers were sensitive to relative clause islands during processing, irrespective of typological differences between the learners’ L1s, but that the learners had more difficulty than native speakers linking distant wh-fillers to their lexical subcategorizers during processing. We provide a unified processing-based account for our findings.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:No Reading authors. Back catalogue items
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Clinical Language Sciences
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Language and Cognition
ID Code:34386
Publisher:John Benjamins Publishing Company

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