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LINGUIST List 23.4869

Thu Nov 22 2012

Diss: Applied Ling/ Psycholing: Cokal: 'The online and offline Processing of this, that and it'

Editor for this issue: Lili Xia <lxialinguistlist.org>

Date: 22-Nov-2012
From: derya cokal <deryacokalgmail.com>
Subject: The online and offline Processing of this, that and it by native Speakers of English and by Turkish non-native Speakers of English
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Institution: Middle East Technical University
Program: Foreign Language Education
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2012

Author: Derya Cokal

Dissertation Title: The online and offline Processing of this, that and it by native Speakers of English and by Turkish non-native Speakers of English

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics

Dissertation Director:
Dr. Patrick Sturt
Prof. Sukriye Ruhi
Prof. Wolf Konig
Prof. Fernanda Ferreira

Dissertation Abstract:

This thesis explores the online processing of this, it and that in English
and compares the processing strategies of Turkish non-native
speakers (NNSs) with those of native speakers of English (NSs) by
running three independent groups of online reading and norming
experiments. The first group of eye-tracking experiments, together with
a corpus study, test the deictic access of this and that to the left (earlier
clause) and right (immediately preceding clause) frontiers. The results
indicated that (1) with both this and that there is a preference for
events on the right frontier as antecedents, although this preference
was greater for that than for this; (2) the left frontier could provide
antecedents more frequently for this than for that; and (3) the reliance
of existing theories of textual deixis on an analogy with spatial deixis in
spoken discourse may be flawed. However, NNSs were shown to
employ a strategy of analogy with spatial deixis in processing textual
deixis. The second group of experiments tested the antecedent
preferences (proposition vs. noun phrase) of it, this and that. In online
reading, NSs did not show strong preferences, whereas NNSs
performed form-function mappings. Like NSs, NNSs used shallow or
‘flexible’ processing. Relying on the interface hypothesis (1), it is
argued that NNSs show a residue of L1 and ‘residual indeterminacy' at
the level of discourse. A ‘good enough’ approach (2) can explain the
shallow processing of NSs. The third group of experiments tested the
role of noun phrases (distant NP vs. recent NP) in the antecedent
preferences of this and it. In contrast to the experiments above, NSs
and NNSs had the same preferences but used different processing
strategies. The scale from uninterpretable features to interpretable
features is proposed to explain different performances across

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