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Title:Why wait? Psycholinguistic investigations of the roles of learning condition and gender stability in L2 gender-based anticipation
Author(s):Shantz, Kailen Thomas William
Director of Research:Tanner, Darren
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Tanner, Darren
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Watson, Duane; Federmeier, Kara; Montrul, Silvina
Department / Program:Linguistics
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):second language acquisition
grammatical gender
lexical gender learning hypothesis
event-related potentials
Abstract:It is well documented that grammatical gender poses a pervasive problem for adult second language learners. Whereas native speakers can use prenominal grammatical gender marking to anticipate upcoming nouns in sentences, L2 learners often show a reduced or absent ability to use gender in this manner (Grüter, Lew-Williams, & Fernald, 2012; Hopp, 2013, 2016). The Lexical Gender Learning Hypothesis (LGLH) proposes a chain of causality to account for this finding: 1) Differences in the conditions under which children and adults learn a language lead to weaker links between nouns and their gender representations for adult L2 learners; 2) These weaker links lead to greater variability in gender assignment; 3) This increased variability in gender assignment reduces the extent to which adult L2 learners use gender predictively. Across three experiments, this dissertation provides the first direct test of the LGLH. Results do not find evidence for the claim that learning context affects the stability of gender assignments nor the ability to use gender as an anticipatory cue. The data do, however, support the hypothesis that gender assignment variability modulates the anticipatory use of gender marking. These findings indicate that L2 knowledge plays an important role in online L2 processing, and that failure to adequately account for this knowledge may lead to an underestimation of L2 performance.
Issue Date:2018-07-02
Rights Information:Copyright 2018 Kailen Shantz
Date Available in IDEALS:2018-09-27
Date Deposited:2018-08

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