An Event-Related Potential (ERP) Investigation of Filler-Gap Processing in Native and Second Language Speakers

Andrea Dallas, Gayle Dede, Janet Nicol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

The current study employed a neuro-imaging technique, Event-Related Potentials (ERP), to investigate real-time processing of sentences containing filler-gap dependencies by late-learning speakers of English as a second language (L2) with a Chinese native language background. An individual differences approach was also taken to examine the role of proficiency and working memory. Materials included a plausibility manipulation to look at whether a plausibility effect, the N400 effect, was found at the point of resolution, the verb, in filler-gap dependencies. The results suggest that, although the L2 speakers as a group are not sensitive to plausibility variations, correlational analysis indicates that more proficient L2 speakers, like the first-language (L1) speakers, are sensitive to plausibility variations while processing filler-gap sentences. Working memory was not found to be associated with more native-like processing of these constructions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)766-799
Number of pages34
JournalLanguage Learning
Volume63
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2013

Keywords

  • Filler-gap dependency
  • L2 processing
  • Psycholinguistics
  • Second language acquisition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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