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Grammatical aspect and L2 learners’ on-line processing of temporarily ambiguous sentences in English: A self-paced reading study with German, Dutch and French L2 learners

Grammatical aspect and L2 learners’ on-line processing of temporarily ambiguous sentences in English: A self-paced reading study with German, Dutch and French L2 learners

Roberts, Leah and Liszka, Sarah Ann (2019) Grammatical aspect and L2 learners’ on-line processing of temporarily ambiguous sentences in English: A self-paced reading study with German, Dutch and French L2 learners. Second Language Research. ISSN 0267-6583 (Print), 1477-0326 (Online) (doi:https://doi.org/10.1177/0267658319895551)

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Abstract

The results of a self-paced reading study with advanced German, Dutch and French second language (L2) learners of English showed that their online comprehension of early closure (EC) sentences which are initially misanalysed by native English speakers (e.g. While John hunted the frightened rabbit escaped) was affected by whether or not, like English, their first language (L1) encodes aspect grammatically (French) or only via lexical means (German, Dutch). The English and the higher proficiency French participants showed a processing asymmetry in their online reading of the temporarily ambiguous sentences, assumed to be caused by the difference in the aspectual perspective a comprehender takes when initial verbs appear in the past simple vs. the past progressive. In contrast, the German and Dutch learners, irrespective of proficiency, treated both progressive and simple sentences in the same way, despite the fact that all the L2 learners were matched according to their metalinguistic knowledge of English aspectual distinctions. Furthermore, despite patterning with the German learners online, the Dutch L2 learners’ offline judgments were more akin to those of the English native speakers and the French L2 learners, showing an effect of aspect, which could be argued to lend support to the idea that progressive aspect may be becoming grammaticalized in Dutch. Taken together, the results of this study add to our growing understanding of cross-linguistic influences during online L2 sentence processing, and differences between L2 parsing and learners’ metalinguistic L2 performance.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: cross-linguistic influence, grammatical aspect, L2 sentence processing, online comprehension, reading comprehension, subject–object ambiguities, self-paced reading
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
P Language and Literature > PD Germanic languages
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > Applied Linguistics Research Group
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > Department of Literature, Language & Theatre
Last Modified: 01 May 2020 14:58
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: GREAT 2
Selected for REF2021: REF 1
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/27067

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