Priming and adaptation in native speakers and second-language learners

Published in: Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, Volume 21, Issue 2, 228-242

“Native speakers show rapid adjustment of their processing strategies and preferences on the basis of the structures they have recently encountered. The present study investigated the nature of priming and adaptation in second-language (L2) speakers and, more specifically, whether similar mechanisms underlie L2 and native language adaptation. Native English speakers and Korean L2 learners of English completed a written priming study probing the use of double object and prepositional phrase datives. Both groups showed cumulative adaptation effects for both types of dative, which was stronger for the structure that was initially less frequent to them (prepositional phrase datives for the native English speakers, and double object datives for the L2 learners). This supports models of priming that incorporate frequency-based modulation of long-lasting activation of structures. L2 learners and native speakers use similar processing mechanisms; differences in adaptation can be accounted for by differences in the relative frequency of structures.”

Written by: Edith Kaan, Eunjin Chan
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