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Academic Paper


Title: Across Languages, Space, and Time
Author: Leida C. Tolentino
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Author: Natasha Tokowicz
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition; Neurolinguistics
Abstract: This review examines whether similarity between the first language (L1) and second language (L2) influences the (morpho)syntactic processing of the L2, using both neural location and temporal processing information. Results from functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and event-related potential (ERP) studies show that nonnative speakers can exhibit nativelike online L2 (morpho)syntactic processing behavior and neural patterns. These findings are contrary to predictions of the shallow structure hypothesis for syntactic processing (Clahsen & Felser, 2006a, 2006b). The data are in line with predictions of the (morpho)syntactic domain of the unified competition model of L2 acquisition (MacWhinney, 2005): Differences in L2 processing as compared to the L1 (or to native speakers of the L2) were generally associated with constructions that were crosslinguistically dissimilar or unique to the L2. The processing of crosslinguistically similar constructions generally produced no differences in brain activity between the L1 and L2. Overall, the available data suggest that cross-language similarity is an important factor that influences L2 (morpho)syntactic processing.

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This article appears IN Studies in Second Language Acquisition Vol. 33, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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