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Reanalysis processes in native and non-native language comprehension

Fujita, H. (2019) Reanalysis processes in native and non-native language comprehension. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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Abstract/Summary

Temporarily ambiguous sentences (e.g., When Mary dressed the baby laughed happily.) are known to cause comprehension difficulties, as initially assigned interpretations (Mary dressed the baby) need to be revised but are not always fully discarded from memory. The similarities and differences between native (L1) and non-native (L2) sentence processing have been widely debated, and many studies have examined L1 and L2 ambiguity resolution. How L2 speakers deal with misinterpretation is however less known. Further, while studies have looked at ambiguous sentences, how reanalysis occurs in both L1 and L2 speakers in sentences containing filler-dependencies (e.g., It was the book which the boy read the article about.) is not known. This thesis reports three studies investigating these issues in L1 and L2 processing, using offline, eyetracking while reading and structural priming tasks. The results showed that L2 participants performed syntactic reanalysis like L1 participants during the processing of garden-path sentences, with both groups showing evidence of lingering misinterpretation. Lingering misinterpretation was also found in filler-gap sentences, but there were some L1/L2 differences in certain fillergap constructions such that reanalysis may be less complete for L2 than L1 speakers during online reading, depending on the nature of disambiguating cues and/or reanalysis difficulty. In general, the lingering misinterpretation observed in temporarily ambiguous and filler-gap sentences in both L1and L2 readers results at least partly from failures to discard initially assigned misinterpretations.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Cunnings, I.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences
ID Code:88856

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