How classifiers facilitate predictive processing in L1 and L2 Chinese: the role of semantic and grammatical cues
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Officially Accepted for Publication


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AbstractThis study examines long-standing claims that L2 learners rely more on non-grammatical than on grammatical information during sentence processing compared to native speakers. Nominal classifiers in Mandarin Chinese offer an ideal opportunity to test this claim, as they simultaneously encode semantic as well as grammatical form-class cues about co-occurring nouns. This paper reports findings from a visual world eye-tracking experiment with L1 and L2 speakers of Mandarin, which was designed to assess listeners’ relative reliance on these two concurrently available cues when creating expectations about an upcoming noun in a sentence. Results show that L2 listeners experienced greater competition than L1 listeners from nouns that were grammatically incompatible with the classifier they heard but shared semantic features associated with it. The greater reliance on semantic cues observed in L2 processing is argued to be an effect of adaptation to the relative reliability of information, serving to maximise L2 processing efficiency.
Acceptance Date20/07/2019
All Author(s) ListTheres Grüter, Elaine Lau, Wenyi Ling
Journal nameLanguage Cognition and Neuroscience
Year2019
ISSN2327-3798
eISSN2327-3801
LanguagesEnglish-United States

Last updated on 2020-10-08 at 04:58