Proceedings from the CALS conference 2014
Edited By Kristina Cergol Kovačević and Sanda Lucija Udier
Written sentence comprehension in L1 and L2
In order to understand meaningful utterances, a number of heterogeneous pieces of linguistic information must be processed and integrated by the human language comprehension system. The comprehension of language is more than the identification of word meanings. Without syntactic processing, without the recognition of syntactic relations between the contextualized words sentence comprehension would not be successful.
The paper presents the results of a psychophysical bilingual study carried out on 97 Hungarian users of English as a second language. The subjects were shown L1 and L2 sentences, and they were expected to make decisions regarding the acceptability of the sentences. From the 240 test sentences 120 were correct and 120 were semantically incongruent or syntactically violated. Reaction time and rate of acceptability judgment were measured and compared in both languages between the groups that were created based on the subjects’ language proficiency (C1 or highly proficient and B2 or intermediate) level, and on the age of second language acquisition (early or late).
With non-parametric statistical analyses, we found significant differences in L1 and L2 between semantic and syntactic processing both in reaction times and acceptability judgments in most cases. Our results support the greater role of language proficiency as opposed to the age of L2 acquisition in successful written sentence processing.
Bilingual language processing is always more complicated than monolingual, and this is influenced by a number of factors (cf. Grosjean 1998). In order to understand...
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