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English compound and non-compound processing in bilingual and multilingual speakers: effects of dominance and sequential multilingualism

Gonzalez Alonso, J., Villegas, J. and García Mayo, M. d. P. (2016) English compound and non-compound processing in bilingual and multilingual speakers: effects of dominance and sequential multilingualism. Second Language Research, 32 (4). pp. 503-535. ISSN 1477-0326

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1177/0267658316642819


This article reports on a study investigating the relative influence of the first and dominant language on L2 and L3 morpho-lexical processing. A lexical decision task compared the responses to English NV-er compounds (e.g., taxi driver) and non-compounds provided by a group of native speakers and three groups of learners at various levels of English proficiency: L1 Spanish-L2 English sequential bilinguals and two groups of early Spanish-Basque bilinguals with English as their L3. Crucially, the two trilingual groups differed in their first and dominant language (i.e., L1 Spanish-L2 Basque vs. L1 Basque-L2 Spanish). Our materials exploit an (a)symmetry between these languages: while Basque and English pattern together in the basic structure of (productive) NV-er compounds, Spanish presents a construction that differs in directionality as well as inflection of the verbal element (V[3SG] + N). Results show between and within group differences in accuracy and response times that may be ascribable to two factors besides proficiency: the number of languages spoken by a given participant and their dominant language. An examination of response bias reveals an influence of the participants' first and dominant language on the processing of NV-er compounds. Our data suggest that morphological information in the nonnative lexicon may extend beyond morphemic structure and that, similarly to bilingualism, there are costs to sequential multilingualism in lexical retrieval.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism (CeLM)
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Clinical Language Sciences
ID Code:59325


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