Processing subject-verb agreement in a second language depends on proficiency

Noriko Hoshino, Paola E. Dussias, Judith F. Kroll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

Subject-verb agreement is a computation that is often difficult to execute perfectly in the first language (L1) and even more difficult to produce skillfully in a second language (L2). In this study, we examine the way in which bilingual speakers complete sentence fragments in a manner that reflects access to both grammatical and conceptual number. In two experiments, we show that bilingual speakers are sensitive to both grammatical and conceptual number in the L1 and grammatical number agreement in the L2. However, only highly proficient bilinguals are also sensitive to conceptual number in the L2. The results suggest that the extent to which speakers are able to exploit conceptual information during speech planning depends on the level of language proficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-98
Number of pages12
JournalBilingualism
Volume13
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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