The current study set out to explore the nature of online lexical access to polysemes and homonyms within L2 learners of English. Two separate experiments were conducted on 30 ESL learners and 30 native speakers of English (as a control group) using the self-paced reading method (SPR) with a view to exploring whether L2 learners of English access the meanings of the lexically-ambiguous words selectively (i.e., only the meaning primed by the preceding contextual information is accessed), exhaustively (i.e., several meanings are accessed concurrently), or in a frequency-ordered way (i.e., the most frequent meaning is accessed prior to the less frequent meanings) during sentence processing. Experiment 1 examined the effect of the lexical ambiguity type on lexical access using three categories of words: 10 polysemes, 10 homonyms, and 10 single-meaning words. Experiment 2 investigated the effect of meaning dominance on lexical processing using 20 polarized ambiguous words with dominant and subordinate meanings to find out whether the frequency of meaning affects the latency of lexical access. The results from the two experiments showed that neither lexical ambiguity type nor meaning dominance significantly affected the processing latencies of the non-native speakers (NNSs) and native speakers (NSs) in context. The results suggest that the nature of lexical access to the meanings of the lexically ambiguous words in L2 learners is selective as long as the word is presented in a sentential context.
|Commitee:||Abbuhl, Rebekha, Hall, Nancy|
|School:||California State University, Long Beach|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 55/06M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Homonymy, Lexical ambiguity, Polysemy|
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