The impact of L1 structural frequency and cognate status on the timing of L2 production

Carrie N. Jackson, Abigail Massaro, Holger Hopp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The present study investigates the impact of first language (L1) structural frequency and L1 lexical accessibility, manipulated via cognate status, on second language (L2) speech production. L1 German–L2 English speakers and L1 English speakers completed a production task containing pre- and post-modified possessive noun phrase (NP) constructions (e.g. The actress’s sofa vs. The sofa of the actress) in which the head nouns were English-German cognates (e.g. sofa) or noncognates. While English prefers pre-modified NPs, German has a strong frequency bias for post-modified NPs. L2 English speakers exhibited higher production accuracy than L1 English speakers on post-modified NP sentences. However, facilitative L1 effects in production latencies were restricted to post-modified NP sentences containing cognates and only developed cumulatively after repeated exposure to post-modified NP sentences. We discuss how cognate status and L1 structural frequency differentially influence the accuracy and timing of choosing between different structural alternatives during L2 production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)535-550
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Cognitive Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 4 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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