This research was supported by a grant from the Language Learning Small Grants Program and by the Cognitive Science Program at the University of Arizona. The authors thank Carrie Almeter, Rebecca Archer, Teresa Bringas, Akinjide Famoyegun, Brittany Glas, Bonnie Holmes, Jessica Knilans, Shane Veglia, and Kaitlyn Zavaleta for their assistance with participant testing and data processing. In addition, we are grateful to three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on previous drafts of this paper.
An Event-Related Potential (ERP) Investigation of Filler-Gap Processing in Native and Second Language Speakers
Article first published online: 4 OCT 2013
© 2013 Language Learning Research Club, University of Michigan
Volume 63, Issue 4, pages 766–799, December 2013
How to Cite
Dallas, A., DeDe, G. and Nicol, J. (2013), An Event-Related Potential (ERP) Investigation of Filler-Gap Processing in Native and Second Language Speakers. Language Learning, 63: 766–799. doi: 10.1111/lang.12026
- Issue published online: 11 NOV 2013
- Article first published online: 4 OCT 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 1 APR 2013
- Cognitive Science Program at the University of Arizona
- second language acquisition;
- filler-gap dependency;
- L2 processing
The current study employed a neuro-imaging technique, Event-Related Potentials (ERP), to investigate real-time processing of sentences containing filler-gap dependencies by late-learning speakers of English as a second language (L2) with a Chinese native language background. An individual differences approach was also taken to examine the role of proficiency and working memory. Materials included a plausibility manipulation to look at whether a plausibility effect, the N400 effect, was found at the point of resolution, the verb, in filler-gap dependencies. The results suggest that, although the L2 speakers as a group are not sensitive to plausibility variations, correlational analysis indicates that more proficient L2 speakers, like the first-language (L1) speakers, are sensitive to plausibility variations while processing filler-gap sentences. Working memory was not found to be associated with more native-like processing of these constructions.