This paper investigates the effects of study abroad and inhibitory control on how Anglophone learners of Spanish process redundant lexical and morphological cues. Thirty-six adult learners with a 16 week study abroad experience and 24 adult learners without a study abroad experience completed a series of tests and tasks, which included a proficiency test, a language contact profile, an eye-tracking task, and an inhibitory control test. The experimental sentences in the eye-tracking task contained a past tense adverb and a verb either in the present or past tense. Inhibitory control was measured via the Simon test. The results of the screening tests reveal that the two groups were comparable in all ways save a study abroad experience. The results of the eye-tracking task reveal that both groups were sensitive to the adverb-verb incongruency, but that only the study abroad learners altered their L2 processing strategies and came to rely more on the morphological cue (verb) and less on the lexical one (adverb), mirroring the strategies used by L1 Spanish speakers, whereas the learners without study abroad continued to rely more on the lexical cue. Inhibitory control was not found to interact with the processing of these cues for either group. These results suggest that study abroad is a satisfactory way to alter the processing of redundant cues, but that the role of inhibitory control in this process may be limited.
Selected Proceedings of the 14th Hispanic Linguistics Symposium
edited by Kimberly Geeslin and Manuel Díaz-Campos
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