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Investigating prediction in L2 morpho-syntax: A visual world study

Liburd, Teljer (2014) Investigating prediction in L2 morpho-syntax: A visual world study. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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When speakers of gendered languages hear determiners, they anticipate nouns that share the determiner’s gender. We examined whether beginning L2 learners anticipate upcoming nouns using determiners’ number/grammatical gender, as a function of 1) cross-language similarity and 2) reliability in mapping of the determiner to an upcoming noun. Native English speakers were taught Dutch nouns, and determiners that were “Similar” or “Different” in English and Dutch, and “Unique” to Dutch. Half the participants were taught determiners that had reliable, one-to-one mapping to upcoming nouns, and the other half was taught a determiner that mapped to more than one type of noun. We tracked eye movements to pairs of pictures while participants listened to partial determiner-final Dutch sentences; they identified by button press which picture best completed the sentence. Accuracy was higher for Similar than Different and Unique sentences, and reaction time (RT) was faster for Similar than Different and Unique sentences. Cross-language similarity also influenced how quickly participants looked to the target after hearing the determiner. Reliability effects were most evident in RT data, which showed that participants in the High reliability group responded more quickly than those in the Low reliability group. Cross-language similarity appears to modulate the learnability of mapping a determiner to its noun, suggesting that beginning L2 learners can use morpho-syntax to make predictions during online sentence comprehension.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Liburd, Teljertll28@pitt.eduTLL28
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee CoChairWarren, Tessatessa@pitt.eduTESSA
Committee CoChairTokowicz, Natashatokowicz@pitt.eduTOKOWICZ
Committee MemberDickey, Michaelmdickey@pitt.eduMDICKEY
Date: 15 September 2014
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 8 August 2014
Approval Date: 15 September 2014
Submission Date: 18 August 2014
Access Restriction: 3 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 3 years.
Number of Pages: 46
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: prediction, morpho-syntax, L2 learning, eye tracking, determiners, visual world
Date Deposited: 15 Sep 2014 20:52
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2017 05:15


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