Reanalysis processes in non-native sentence comprehension

Hiroki Fujita, Ian Cunnings
2021 Bilingualism: Language and Cognition  
We report two offline and two eye-movement experiments examining non-native (L2) sentence processing during and after reanalysis of temporarily ambiguous sentences like "While Mary dressed the baby laughed happily". Such sentences cause reanalysis at the main clause verb ("laughed"), as the temporarily ambiguous noun phrase ("the baby") may initially be misanalysed as the direct object of the subordinate clause verb ("dressed"). The offline experiments revealed that L2ers have difficulty
more » ... sing temporarily ambiguous sentences with a greater persistence of the initially assigned misinterpretation than native (L1) speakers. In the eye-movement experiments, we found that L2ers complete reanalysis similarly to L1ers but fail to fully erase the memory trace of the initially assigned interpretation. Our results suggested that the source of L2 reanalysis difficulty is a failure to erase the initially assigned misinterpretation from memory rather than a failure to conduct syntactic reanalysis.
doi:10.1017/s1366728921000195 fatcat:rjzuekjjozhaxh3h7wls56z5jq