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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



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Academic Paper


Title: Online Pronoun Resolution in L2 Discourse: L1 influence and general learner effects
Author: Leah Roberts
Email: click here to access email
Homepage: http://www.mpi.nl/world/persons/profession/leahro.html
Institution: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics
Author: Marianne Gullberg
Institution: Lund University
Author: Peter Indefrey
Institution: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics
Linguistic Field: Psycholinguistics
Subject Language: Dutch
German
Turkish
Abstract: This study investigates whether advanced second language (L2) learners of a nonnull subject language (Dutch) are influenced by their null subject first language (L1) (Turkish) in their offline and online resolution of subject pronouns in L2 discourse. To tease apart potential L1 effects from possible general L2 processing effects, we also tested a group of German L2 learners of Dutch who were predicted to perform like the native Dutch speakers. The two L2 groups differed in their offline interpretations of subject pronouns. The Turkish L2 learners exhibited a L1 influence, because approximately half the time they interpreted Dutch subject pronouns as they would overt pronouns in Turkish, whereas the German L2 learners performed like the Dutch controls, interpreting pronouns as coreferential with the current discourse topic. This L1 effect was not in evidence in eye-tracking data, however. Instead, the L2 learners patterned together, showing an online processing disadvantage when two potential antecedents for the pronoun were grammatically available in the discourse. This processing disadvantage was in evidence irrespective of the properties of the learners' L1 or their final interpretation of the pronoun. Therefore, the results of this study indicate both an effect of the L1 on the L2 in offline resolution and a general L2 processing effect in online subject pronoun resolution.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Studies in Second Language Acquisition Vol. 30, Issue 3, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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