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Academic Paper


Title: Processing verb argument structure across languages: Evidence for shared representations in the bilingual lexicon
Author: Angeliki Salamoura
Institution: Research Centre for English and Applied Linguistics University of Cambridge
Author: John N. Williams
Institution: Research Centre for English and Applied Linguistics University of Cambridge
Linguistic Field: Psycholinguistics; Syntax
Abstract: Although the organization of first language (L1) and second language (L2) lexicosemantic information has been extensively studied in the bilingual literature, little evidence exists concerning how syntactic information associated with words is represented across languages. The present study examines the shared or independent nature of the representation of verb argument structure in the bilingual mental lexicon and the contribution of constituent order and thematic role information in these representations. In three production tasks, Greek (L1) advanced learners of English (L2) generated an L1 prime structure (Experiment 1: prepositional object [PO] and double object [DO] structures; Experiment 2: PO, DO, and intransitive structures; Experiment 3: PO, DO, locative, and "provide (someone) with (something)" structures) before completing an L2 target structure (PO or DO only). Experiment 1 showed L1-to-L2 syntactic priming; participants tended to reuse L1 structure when producing L2 utterances. Experiments 2 and 3 showed that this tendency was contingent on the combination of both syntactic structure and thematic roles up to the first postverbal argument. Based on these findings, we outline a model of shared representations of syntactic and thematic information for L1 and L2 verbs in the bilingual lexicon.

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This article appears IN Applied Psycholinguistics Vol. 28, Issue 4, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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