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The effect of linguistic nativeness in structural priming in comprehension

Nitschke, S., Serratrice, L. and Kidd, E. (2014) The effect of linguistic nativeness in structural priming in comprehension. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 29 (5). pp. 525-542. ISSN 2327-3801

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/01690965.2013.766355

Abstract/Summary

The role of linguistic experience in structural priming is unclear. Although it is explicitly predicted that experience contributes to priming effects on at least one theoretical account (Chang, Dell, & Bock, 2006), to date the empirical data has been mixed. To investigate this issue we conducted four sentence-picture matching experiments that primed for the comprehension of object relative clauses in L1 and proficient L2 speakers of German. It was predicted that an effect of experience would only be observed in instances where priming effects are likely to be weak in experienced L1 speakers. In such circumstances priming should still be strong in L2 speakers because of their comparative lack of experience using and processing the L2 test structures. The experiments therefore systematically manipulated the primes to decrease lexical and conceptual overlap between primes and targets. The results supported the hypothesis: in two of the four studies the L2 group showed different priming effects when compared to the L1 group. This effect only occurred when animacy differences were introduced between the prime and target. The results suggest that linguistic experience as operationalised by nativeness affects the strength of priming, specifically in cases where there is a lack of lexical and conceptual overlap between prime and target.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions: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:67095
Publisher:Taylor & Francis

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