Ambiguity Resolution in Spanish-English Bilinguals

Project: Research project

Project Details


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The primary goal of the planned studies is to employ bilingual sentence parsing research to inform the recent debates about the properties of the human sentence processing mechanism. Two eye-tracking studies involving Spanish-English bilinguals have been proposed, which have the following specific aims. First, to examine the extent to which length of exposure to the L2 affects parsing in the bilingual's L1. Second, to study the effect of L1 verb-bias information on the processing of an L2, in cases where the bias associated with a particular verb in the L1 is at odds with the bias of the L2 translation equivalent. The planned studies have the following long-term objectives. First, to employ bilingual sentence parsing to illuminate current debates about the architecture of the human sentence processing mechanism, and about the types of information initially available to the parser. Second, to inform L2 research devoted to the investigation of how language is understood and used in communicative contexts. Third, to fill a vacuum in the field of bilingual language processing, given that the vast majority of the studies in this area have focus principally on lexical representations in bilinguals. In this respect, the proposed project is significant in that it lays the groundwork for subsequent investigations in the area of L2 parsing. From a broader perspective, by studying the processes that guide parse and misparse in an L2, the project has significant implications for the understanding of successful cross-cultural communication. Second, by studying the effect that learning a second language has on first language processing, the proposed research can make a new contribution to the knowledge of the factors affecting first language loss. Third, the planned studies incorporate the participation of Spanish heritage graduate students for education and research collaborations, thereby promoting the involvement of underrepresented groups. Lastly, the project will increase the diversity of the pool of trained language researchers. [unreadable]
Effective start/end date6/10/055/31/07