Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login

New from Cambridge University Press!


Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

We Have a New Site!

With the help of your donations we have been making good progress on designing and launching our new website! Check it out at!
***We are still in our beta stages for the new site--if you have any feedback, be sure to let us know at***

Academic Paper

Title: Statistical sensitivity, cognitive aptitudes, and processing of collocations
Author: Wei Yi
Linguistic Field: Cognitive Science; Language Acquisition
Subject Language: English
Abstract: Frequency and contingency (i.e., co-occurrence probability of words in multiword sequences [MWS]) are two driving forces of language acquisition and processing. Previous research has demonstrated that L1 and advanced L2 speakers are sensitive to phrasal frequency and contingency when processing larger-than-word units. However, it remains unclear whether such statistical sensitivity is robust across tasks and among subcategories of MWS. In addition, little is known about whether cognitive aptitudes can moderate such sensitivity. This study examined L1 and advanced L2 speakers’ statistical sensitivity to phrasal frequency and contingency as well as cognitive aptitudes’ moderating effects on such sensitivity when processing English adjective-noun collocations. Participants performed a phrasal acceptability judgment task (PJT). Meanwhile, their aptitude profiles were measured by six aptitude tests, which loaded separately onto implicit language aptitude, explicit language aptitude, and working memory capacity. Linear mixed-effects modeling revealed that both L1 and L2 English speakers were sensitive to phrasal frequency and contingency of collocations, although L2 speakers’ sensitivity was much stronger than that of L1 speakers. None of the aptitudes was found to moderate language users’ statistical sensitivity to either collocation frequency or contingency. Interestingly, disassociation patterns between the PJT performance and the involvement of implicit or explicit language aptitude among the L1 and L2 speakers were found. It was concluded that L1 and L2 speakers differed in terms of the way they processed the collocations, as well as the nature of their collocational knowledge.


This article appears IN Studies in Second Language Acquisition Vol. 40, Issue 4, which you can READ on Cambridge's site .

Return to TOC.

View the full article for free in the current issue of
Cambridge Extra Magazine!
Add a new paper
Return to Academic Papers main page
Return to Directory of Linguists main page