Studies in Language Variation, Meaning and Learning
Edited By David Tizón Couto, Beatriz Tizon-Couto, Iria Pastor-Gomez and Maurizio Gotti
XIAOYAN XIA, JANNY LEUNG - Category Typicality Effects in Foreign Language Acquisition: The Role of L1-based Typicality in L2 Semantic Organisation 247
XIAOYAN XIA / JANNY LEUNG Category Typicality Effects in Foreign Language Acquisition: The Role of L1-based Typicality in L21 Semantic Organisation 1. Introduction Natural language categories exhibit graded structure such that some category members are more representative or typical of their respec- tive categories than others (see Rosch/Mervis 1975; Hampton 1981; Armstrong/Gleitman/Gleitman 1983; Barsalou 1983, 1985). For ex- ample, people generally regard a table as a more typical example of furniture than a closet. Typicality (also known as goodness-of- example, representativeness, or sometimes prototypicality) is a notion first introduced by Rips/Shoben/Smith (1973) and Rosch (1973) to designate the degree of an instance in terms of its being representative of the corresponding category and hence a means to measure the graded internal category structure (Rosch 1975). Operationally, cate- gory typicality is obtained by asking participants to make a direct rat- ing, according to an appropriate scale, of the degree to which a cate- gory instance is a good or representative member of the category (Rips et al. 1973; Rosch 1973). Typicality of category members has been observed to affect the way people process the categories. For instance, when asked to evalu- ate categorical statements (e.g. A robin is a bird or A chicken is a bird), both adults (see Smith/Shoben/Rips 1974) and children (see Rosch 1973) are faster and more accurate in evaluating statements that include typical as opposed to atypical category members. In the ex- 1 L2 is an abbreviated form of second/foreign language. In this study, English as a...
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