Are All L2 Learners Morphologically Insensitive? L1 Influence and WM Capacity as Mitigating Factors
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L2 integrated knowledge has been described as linguistic knowledge learners retrieve and apply without effort (Jiang, 2007). Within this framework, L2 learners, who are native speakers of Chinese, have been characterized as unable to integrate morphological information, since they do not seem to notice mistakes involving subject/verb agreement and number markers in English (Jiang, 2004, 2007). This paper partially replicates Jiang's study (2007) with a group of English-speaking learners of Spanish and the application of a psychometric approach to test WM capacity. The learners took a word-by-word self-paced reading comprehension test with sentences involving subject/verb agreement mistakes in Spanish. All participants took a language-independent WM test, the automated operation span task, to determine whether WM influenced their performance. Results showed that morphological insensitivity depends on the L1 of the learners tested and that WM capacity does not modulate this sensitivity in L2 speakers.
Selected Proceedings of the 2011 Second Language Research Forum: Converging Theory and Practice
edited by Erik Voss, Shu-Ju Diana Tai, and Zhi Li
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