In this dissertation, the main assumptions in the Shallow Structure Hypothesis, developed by Clahsen & Felser (2006), are evaluated to determine whether the performance of second language (L2) learners when parsing sentences in the target language is fundamentally different. First, the claim that L2 learners do not employ phrase structure heuristics is assessed with stimuli made up of transitively- and intransitively-biased verbs followed by a noun phrase (Traxler, 2005). The second claim evaluated is that L2 learners do not use structurally defined gaps. This hypothesis is tested by comparing the learners’ reading performance of intermediate gaps, stimuli with garden path effects and genitive nominalizations. The third assumption tested involves the use of configurational (binding) principles (Chomsky, 1981) in the parsing of cataphoric reference. The performance of L2 learners of English from Spanish and Chinese backgrounds is compared to that of native English speakers using the moving window paradigm. The relative influence of WM on the processing of these structures was also measured. Results show that both native and non-native speakers present similar parsing profiles and do make use of parsing heuristics. At the same time, both native speakers and L2 learners present difficulties accessing other kinds of structural information and resort instead to other clues that may render ‘good-enough’ representations (Ferreira et al., 2002). A pervasive finding as regards the WM capacity in L2 learners is the relationship found between the ability to store words and grammatical proficiency in a version of the reading span task (Daneman & Carpenter, 1980).
|School:||University of Pittsburgh|
|School Location:||United States -- Pennsylvania|
|Source:||DAI-A 70/03, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Language arts, Linguistics|
|Keywords:||Language processing, Second language, Sentence parsing, Working memory|
Copyright in each Dissertation and Thesis is retained by the author. All Rights Reserved
The supplemental file or files you are about to download were provided to ProQuest by the author as part of a
dissertation or thesis. The supplemental files are provided "AS IS" without warranty. ProQuest is not responsible for the
content, format or impact on the supplemental file(s) on our system. in some cases, the file type may be unknown or
may be a .exe file. We recommend caution as you open such files.
Copyright of the original materials contained in the supplemental file is retained by the author and your access to the
supplemental files is subject to the ProQuest Terms and Conditions of use.
Depending on the size of the file(s) you are downloading, the system may take some time to download them. Please be