Proficiency level and the interaction of lexical and morphosyntactic information during L2 sentence processing

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Abstract

Using a self-paced reading task, the present study explores how second language (L2) German speakers at different proficiency levels use case-marking information when processing subject-object ambiguities in German. Results indicate that advanced L2 German speakers rapidly integrated case-marking information during online processing, exhibiting a subject preference similar to German native speakers. However, there was evidence that the relative processing difficulty of object-first sentences was influenced by early access to the thematic verb. In contrast, intermediate L2 speakers were not immediately sensitive to case-marking information regardless of thematic verb placement. These findings are discussed in light of current models of L2 sentence processing and research concerning L2 speakers' ability to process L2 morphosyntactic information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)875-909
Number of pages35
JournalLanguage Learning
Volume58
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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