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LINGUIST List 20.1786

Sat May 09 2009

Diss: Pyscholinguistics: Maier: 'Structural Interference from the ...'

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        1.    Robert M Maier, Structural Interference from the Source Language: A psycholinguistic investigation of syntactic processes in non-professional translation

Message 1: Structural Interference from the Source Language: A psycholinguistic investigation of syntactic processes in non-professional translation
Date: 08-May-2009
From: Robert M Maier <rob.m.maierweb.de>
Subject: Structural Interference from the Source Language: A psycholinguistic investigation of syntactic processes in non-professional translation
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Institution: University of Edinburgh
Program: School of Philosophy, Psychology, and Language Sciences
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2009

Author: Robert M Maier

Dissertation Title: Structural Interference from the Source Language: A psycholinguistic investigation of syntactic processes in non-professional translation

Linguistic Field(s): Psycholinguistics

Dissertation Director:
Antonella Sorace
Robert J Hartsuiker
Martin J Pickering

Dissertation Abstract:

This thesis explores cross-linguistic structural phenomena in the language
production of bilinguals in the specific context of translation.

In recent years, cross-linguistic phenomena on the level of syntax have
become an increasingly prominent issue in psycholinguistic research, and
are a well-known feature in language productions of multilinguals, from
language learners to translators. The work presented here is founded in
current psycholinguistic perspectives (discussed in Chapter 2), and takes
into account relevant research on bilingualism and advanced Second Language
Acquisition (Chapter 3) and Translation and Interpreting (Chapter 4). In
conclusion, I consider translation as a special instance of bilingual
production, elementary concepts of which are available to all bilinguals.

On this basis, an experimental paradigm for psycholinguistic research into
structural phenomena of translation is developed and refined (Chapters 5
and 6) that provides both off-line and on-line data from simple
text-to-speech translations. Experiment 1 (Chapter 5) confirms the
existence of priming-like, on-line facilitation in translations where
source and target sentences are structurally matched. Translations in
Experiment 1 involved L1 as the source language, L2 as the target. In
Experiment 2 (Chapter 6), two participant groups - one working from L1 to
L2, the other from L2 to L1 - carried out translations of source material
that permitted several target structures. Significant levels of off-line
structural priming are observed for both groups. Evidence on on-line
facilitation is not conclusive. Using different materials, Experiment 3
(Chapter 7) obtains more evidence for structural priming from L1 and L2
groups. Concomitant facilitation of primed productions is found only in
translations from L1 to L2, which agrees with predictions from research in
L2 acquisition. Experiment 4 (Chapter 8) modifies materials from Experiment
3 to make a change of syntactic structure obligatory in translation, while
the location of priming remains untouched. Off-line structural priming in
translations from L1 to L2 remains in evidence, but on-line facilitation
does not, suggesting that syntactic operations do not add to each other but
are processed in one go.

Results are discussed comprehensively (in Chapter 9) and in relation to
theories of syntactic production and directionality in translation. Several
possibilities for future applications of the approach are proposed.



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