Language background affects word order processing in a second language online but not offline

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Language background affects word order processing in a second language online but not offline. / Andersson, Annika; Sayehli, Susan; Gullberg, Marianne.

In: Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, Vol. 22, No. 4, 2019, p. 802-825.

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TY - JOUR

T1 - Language background affects word order processing in a second language online but not offline

AU - Andersson, Annika

AU - Sayehli, Susan

AU - Gullberg, Marianne

PY - 2019

Y1 - 2019

N2 - This study examines possible crosslinguistic influence on basic word order processing in a second language (L2). Targeting Swedish V2 word order we investigate adult German learners (+V2 in the L1) and English learners (-V2 in the L1) of Swedish who are matched for proficiency. We report results from two offline behavioural tasks (written production, metalinguistic judgements), and online processing as measured by event-related potentials (ERPs). All groups showed sensitivity to word order violations behaviourally and neurocognitively. Behaviourally, the learners differed from the native speakers only on judgements. Crucially, they did not differ from each other. Neurocognitively, all groups showed a similar increased centro-parietal P600 ERP-effect, but German learners (+V2) displayed more nativelike anterior ERP-effects than English learners (-V2). The results suggest crosslinguistic influence in that the presence of a similar word order in the L1 can facilitate online processing in an L2 – even if no offline behavioural effects are discerned.

AB - This study examines possible crosslinguistic influence on basic word order processing in a second language (L2). Targeting Swedish V2 word order we investigate adult German learners (+V2 in the L1) and English learners (-V2 in the L1) of Swedish who are matched for proficiency. We report results from two offline behavioural tasks (written production, metalinguistic judgements), and online processing as measured by event-related potentials (ERPs). All groups showed sensitivity to word order violations behaviourally and neurocognitively. Behaviourally, the learners differed from the native speakers only on judgements. Crucially, they did not differ from each other. Neurocognitively, all groups showed a similar increased centro-parietal P600 ERP-effect, but German learners (+V2) displayed more nativelike anterior ERP-effects than English learners (-V2). The results suggest crosslinguistic influence in that the presence of a similar word order in the L1 can facilitate online processing in an L2 – even if no offline behavioural effects are discerned.

KW - second language acquision

KW - cross-linguistic influence

KW - word order

KW - ERP

KW - German

KW - English

KW - Swedish

U2 - 10.1017/S1366728918000573

DO - 10.1017/S1366728918000573

M3 - Article

VL - 22

SP - 802

EP - 825

JO - Bilingualism: Language and Cognition

JF - Bilingualism: Language and Cognition

SN - 1366-7289

IS - 4

ER -