LINGUIST List 21.3221

Mon Aug 09 2010

Diss: Psycholing: Siyanova: 'On-line Processing of Multi-word ...'

Editor for this issue: Mfon Udoinyang <mfonlinguistlist.org>


        1.    Anna Siyanova, On-line Processing of Multi-word Sequences in a First and Second Language: Evidence from Eye-tracking and ERP

Message 1: On-line Processing of Multi-word Sequences in a First and Second Language: Evidence from Eye-tracking and ERP
Date: 09-Aug-2010
From: Anna Siyanova <anna.siyanovaunimore.it>
Subject: On-line Processing of Multi-word Sequences in a First and Second Language: Evidence from Eye-tracking and ERP
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Institution: University of Nottingham Program: School of English Studies Dissertation Status: Completed Degree Date: 2010

Author: Anna Siyanova

Dissertation Title: On-line Processing of Multi-word Sequences in a First and Second Language: Evidence from Eye-tracking and ERP

Linguistic Field(s): Psycholinguistics
Dissertation Director:
Norbert Schmitt Walter van Heuven Kathy Conklin
Dissertation Abstract:

A view that has been gaining popularity is that humans are sensitive tofrequency information at different levels, and that this informationaffects the processing of linguistic material, subsequently shaping ourmental representations. Frequency effects have been reported extensively inword processing literature, but only a small number of studies haveinvestigated frequency effects in units larger than a word. The questionthat the present thesis strives to answer is: Do units above the wordlevel, both fully compositional and less so, exhibit frequency effects? InStudy 1, using an eye-tracking paradigm, I investigate the comprehension ofidioms used figuratively (at the end of the day - 'eventually'), literally(at the end of the day - 'in the evening'), as well as novel phrases (atthe end of the war) in a first and second language. In Study 2, which alsouses eye-tracking, native and nonnative processing of frequent binomialexpressions, such as bride and groom, is compared to their infrequentreversed forms, such as groom and bride. Finally, three ERP experiments,which form Study 3, further investigate on-line processing of frequentbinomial expressions versus novel phrases in a first language. The resultsof the studies point to the following. Frequent phrases are processedfaster than novel ones by native speakers. Nonnative speakers, on the otherhand, appear to have a 'lexicon in transition', that is, their processingstarts to approximate that of natives only with respect to very highfrequency items. Overall, the processing of frequent multi-word sequencesin a second language is more sequential than that in a first language (thisis particularly the case with idioms). The processing advantage forbinomials observed in the ERP study with native speakers also suggests thatdifferent neural correlates underlie the processing of familiar phraseswhen compared to novel ones. On the whole, the findings reported in thethesis suggest that the units that language users attend to are not limitedto single words, but extend to multi-word sequences as well.



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