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International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching

Ed. by Jordens, Peter / Roberts, Leah

IMPACT FACTOR 2017: 1.242

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Volume 56, Issue 3


Syntactically–driven algorithmic processing of PP-attachment ambiguity in a second language

Junya Fukuta / Aki Goto
  • Graduate School of Languages and Cultures, Nagoya University, Furo, Chikusa, Nagoya 464-8601, Japan
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/ Yusaku Kawaguchi
  • Division of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Aichi Gakuin University, Nisshin, Aichi 470-0195, Japan
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/ Akari Kurita / Daisuke Murota
Published Online: 2017-05-23 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/iral-2017-0038


This study explored whether Japanese EFL learners can utilize syntactically–driven algorithmic processing. For this purpose, the study attempted to inhibit other forms of processing (i. e., semantically–driven heuristic processing and processing with explicit knowledge) by using a self–paced reading task with priming of PP–attachment ambiguity. In the experiment, 20 highly proficient Japanese learners and 18 native speakers of English engaged in a phrase–by–phrase self–paced reading task after reading prime sentences. Although the results of non–native speakers (NNSs) showed a similar tendency to the NSs, there were slight differences between NSs and NNSs in terms of the size of the priming effects. This indicated that highly proficient Japanese EFL learners can utilize syntactically–driven algorithmic processing, but the process may be relatively “fragile” compared to that of NSs.

Keywords: PP–attachment ambiguity; syntactic priming; good–enough processing; algorithmic processing; implicit knowledge


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About the article

Published Online: 2017-05-23

Published in Print: 2018-09-25

Citation Information: International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching, Volume 56, Issue 3, Pages 253–277, ISSN (Online) 1613-4141, ISSN (Print) 0019-042X, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/iral-2017-0038.

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