Acquiring L2 sentence comprehension: A longitudinal study of word monitoring in noise

Georgina Oliver, Marianne Gullberg, Frauke Hellwig, Holger Mitterer, Peter Indefrey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
187 Downloads (Pure)


This study investigated the development of second language online auditory processing with ab initio German learners of Dutch. We assessed the influence of different levels of background noise and different levels of semantic and syntactic target word predictability on word monitoring latencies. There was evidence of syntactic, but not semantic, transfer from the L1 to the L2 from the onset of L2 learning. An initial stronger adverse effect of noise on syntactic compared to phonological processing disappeared after two weeks of learning Dutch suggesting a change towards more automatic syntactic processing. At the same time the L2 learners started to exploit semantic constraints predicting upcoming target words. The use of semantic predictability remained less efficient compared to native speakers until the end of the observation period.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)841-857
JournalBilingualism: Language and Cognition
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Bibliographical note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015.
The record was previously connected to the following departments: Humanities Lab (015101200), Linguistics and Phonetics (015010003)

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • General Language Studies and Linguistics


  • processing
  • noise
  • automaticity
  • crossliguistic influence
  • Dutch
  • German
  • second language


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