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Constraints on L2 learners’ processing of wh-dependencies: Evidence from eye movements

Cunnings, Ian and Batterham, Claire and Felser, Claudia and Clahsen, Harald (2010) 'Constraints on L2 learners’ processing of wh-dependencies: Evidence from eye movements.' In: VanPatten, Bill and Jegerski, Jill, (eds.) Research in Second Language Processing and Parsing. Language Acquisition and Language Disorders (53). John Benjamins, Amsterdam, pp. 87-110. ISBN 978 90 272 5315 6 (print) 978 90 272 8748 9 (ebook)

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Abstract

Using the eye-movement monitoring technique, the present study examined whether wh-dependency formation is sensitive to island constraints in second language (L2) sentence comprehension, and whether the presence of an intervening relative clause island has any effects on learners’ ability to ultimately resolve long wh-dependencies. Participants included proficient learners of L2 English from typologically different language backgrounds (German, Chinese), as well as a group of native English-speaking controls. Our results indicate that both the learners and the native speakers were sensitive to relative clause islands during processing, irrespective of typological differences between the learners’ L1s, but that the learners had more difficulty than native speakers linking distant wh-fillers to their lexical subcategorizers during processing. We provide a unified processing-based account for our findings.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Language and Linguistics, Department of
Depositing User: Admin
Date Deposited: 26 Aug 2011 15:24
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2011 12:20
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/413

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