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Evolutionary Syntax

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Academic Paper

Title: Morphological insensitivity in second language processing
Author: Nan Jiang
Institution: University of Maryland
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition; Morphology; Psycholinguistics
Subject Language: Chinese, Mandarin
Abstract: Two competing explanations exist regarding the nature of morphological difficulty in adult second language acquisition: competence deficit versus performance deficiency. This study tested these explanations by examining English as a second language (ESL) learners' morphological performance in reading comprehension tasks. Chinese ESL speakers were asked to read English sentences for comprehension in three self-paced word by word reading experiments. Their reading times were measured to determine if they were sensitive to idiosyncrasies/disagreement in sentences that do and do not involve the number morpheme. The results show that they are not sensitive to number disagreement, but sensitive to other idiosyncrasies tested. This insensitivity to the number morpheme suggests that their morphological knowledge is not an integrated part of their automatic second language competence.


This article appears IN Applied Psycholinguistics Vol. 25, Issue 4, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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