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Lingering misinterpretation in native and non-native sentence processing: evidence from structural priming

Fujita, H. and Cunnings, I. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5318-0186 (2020) Lingering misinterpretation in native and non-native sentence processing: evidence from structural priming. Applied Psycholinguistics. ISSN 1469-1817

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1017/S0142716420000351

Abstract/Summary

Native (L1) and non-native (L2) speakers sometimes misinterpret temporarily ambiguous sentences like “When Mary dressed the baby laughed happily”. Recent studies suggest that the initially assigned misinterpretation (“Mary dressed the baby”) may persist even after disambiguation, and that L2 speakers may have particular difficulty discarding initial misinterpretations. The present study investigated whether L2 speakers are more persistent with misinterpretation compared with L1 speakers during sentence processing, using the structural priming and eye-tracking while reading tasks. In the experiment, participants read prime followed by target sentences. Reading times revealed that unambiguous but not ambiguous prime sentences facilitated processing of the globally correct interpretation of ambiguous target sentences. However, this priming effect was only observed when the prime and target sentence shared the same verb. Comprehension accuracy rates were not significantly influenced by priming effects but did provide evidence of lingering misinterpretation. We did not find significant L1/L2 differences in either priming effects or persistence of misinterpretation. Together, these results suggest that initially assigned misinterpretations linger in both L1 and L2 readers during sentence processing and that L1 and L2 comprehension priming is strongly lexically mediated.

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:92521
Publisher:Cambridge University Press

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