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Effects of L1 Co-activation on the Processing of L2 Morpho-syntax in German-Speaking Learners of English
Tom Rankin, Stella Grosso, and Susanne Reiterer
196-207 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


This paper explores the potential effects of co-activation of L1 syntax during L2 processing. Two experiments test (i) offline comprehension, and (ii) neurocognitive processing of (un)grammatical wh-questions by L1 German-speaking learners of English. Manipulating the grammaticality of agreement patterns in English wh-questions sets up cross-linguistic conflicts as this results in ungrammatical clauses which would be grammatical when translated word by word into German. The results are broadly in line with the assumption that L1 syntax is activated during L2 processing. Comprehension patterns and ERP signatures are consistent with learners having access to an L1 parse for ungrammatical L2 English clauses which are superficially compatible with German syntactic properties.

Published in

Proceedings of the 13th Generative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition Conference (GASLA 2015)
edited by David Stringer, Jordan Garrett, Becky Halloran, and Sabrina Mossman
Table of contents
Printed edition: $290.00