The second language processing of passives, object pronouns and null subjects: Processing instruction compared to language experience

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The present study compared the performance of two groups of second language learners processing three linguistic structures in Spanish. The linguistic targets were passives, object pronouns in O pro VS sentences, and gender-cued null subjects in subordinate clauses. The primary differences between the two groups were language experience and an instructional treatment. The group with greater language experience was enrolled in the last course of their Spanish major, the other group in the middle of their major coursework. The group with less language experience received Processing Instruction on passives. The scores of the greater language experience group were compared to the pretest and then posttest scores of the Processing Instruction group. Results demonstrated that greater language experience gave learners an advantage in processing the linguistic targets when compared to the Processing Instruction group’s pretest scores. Comparisons between the greater language experience group’s scores with the Processing Instruction group’s posttest scores showed that Processing Instruction provided a superior effect on passives, an equalizing effect on null subjects, and a non-effect on object pronouns. Experience counted more with object pronouns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-100
Number of pages10
JournalHispania
Volume102
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2019

Keywords

  • First-noun principle/principio del primer sustantivo
  • Input processing/procesamiento del input
  • Processing Instruction /enseñanza a base del procesamiento
  • Spanish passive voice/voz pasiva en español
  • Word order/orden de palabras

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