Cross-linguistic differences and their impact on L2 sentence processing

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Using a self-paced reading task, the present study investigates how highly proficient second language (L2) speakers of German with English as their native language process unambiguous wh -subject-extractions and wh -object-extractions in German. Previous monolingual research has shown that English and German exhibit different processing preferences for the type of wh -question under investigation, due in part to the robust case-marking system in German - a morphosyntactic feature that is largely absent in English (e.g., Juffs and Harrington, 1995; Fanselow, Kliegl and Schlesewsky 1999; Meng and Bader, 2000; Juffs, 2005). The results revealed that the L2 German speakers utilized case-marking information and exhibited a subject-preference similar to German native speakers. These findings are discussed in light of relevant research regarding the ability of L2 speakers to adopt native-like processing strategies in their L2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-82
Number of pages18
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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