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Processing reflexives in a second language: the timing of structural and discourse-level information

Felser, C. and Cunnings, I. (2012) Processing reflexives in a second language: the timing of structural and discourse-level information. Applied Psycholinguistics, 33 (3). pp. 571-603. ISSN 1469-1817

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1017/S0142716411000488

Abstract/Summary

We report the results from two eye-movement monitoring experiments examining the processing of reflexive pronouns by proficient German-speaking learners of second language (L2) English. Our results show that the nonnative speakers initially tried to link English argument reflexives to a discourse-prominent but structurally inaccessible antecedent, thereby violating binding condition A. Our native speaker controls, in contrast, showed evidence of applying condition A immediately during processing. Together, our findings show that L2 learners’ initial focusing on a structurally inaccessible antecedent cannot be due to first language influence and is also independent of whether the inaccessible antecedent c-commands the reflexive. This suggests that unlike native speakers, nonnative speakers of English initially attempt to interpret reflexives through discourse-based coreference assignment rather than syntactic binding.

Item Type:Article
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:34388
Publisher:Cambridge University Press

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