Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Uses of Eye-Tracking Data in Second Language Sentence Processing Research

  • Paola E. Dussias

Abstract

When hearing or reading words and sentences in a second language (L2), we face many uncertainties about how the people and objects referred to are connected to one another. So what do we do under these conditions of uncertainty? Because relatively proficient L2 speakers have access to the grammar and lexicon of each language when comprehending words and sentences or when planning spoken utterances, and because the recent research suggests that these linguistic systems are not entirely independent, there is a critical question about how the knowledge of two languages affects basic aspects of language processing. In this article, I review how eye-tracking methodology has been used as a tool to address this question. I begin by discussing why eye movements are a useful methodology in language processing research, and I provide a description of one experimental paradigm developed to explore eye movements during reading. Second, I present recent developments in the use of eye tracking to study L2 spoken-language comprehension. I also highlight the importance of using multiple measures of online sentence processing by discussing results obtained using a moving window task and eye-tracking records while L2 speakers read syntactically ambiguous relative clauses. Next, I discuss research investigating syntactic processing when L2 speakers process mixed language. I end with suggestions for future research directions.

Copyright

References

Hide All
Abdelghany, H., & Fodor, J. D. (1999, September). Low attachment of relative clauses in Arabic. Poster presented at the annual meeting of Architecture and Mechanisms for Language Processing (AMLaP), Edinburgh, UK.
Abutalebi, J., Cappa, S. F., & Perani, D. (2005). What can functional neuroimaging tell us about the bilingual brain? In Kroll, J. & de Groot, A. M. B. (Eds.), Handbook of bilingualism: Psycholinguistic perspectives (pp. 497515). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Allopenna, P. D., Magnuson, J. S., & Tanenhaus, M. K. (1998). Tracking the time course of spoken word recognition using eye movements: Evidence for continuous mapping models. Journal of Memory and Language, 38, 419439.
Altmann, G. T. M., & Kamide, Y. (1999). Incremental interpretation at verbs: Restricting the domain of subsequent reference. Cognition, 73, 247264.
Bayley, R., & Preston, D. R. (2008). Variation and second language grammars. Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics, 1, 385397.
Blumenfeld, H. K., & Marian, V. (2005). Covert bilingual language activation through cognate word processing: An eye-tracking study. Proceedings of the 27th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 286291). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Blumenfeld, H. K., & Marian, V. (2007). Constraints on parallel activation in bilingual spoken language processing: Examining proficiency and lexical status using eye-tracking. Language and Cognitive Processes, 22, 233260.
Brysbaert, M., & Mitchell, D. C. (1996). Modifier attachment in sentence processing: Evidence from Dutch. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 49A, 664695.
Canseco-Gonzalez, E., Brick, C., Fischer, K., & Wagner, K. (2005). “Carpet or Carcel” effects of speaker type, fluency, and language mode on bilingual lexical access. Proceedings of the International Symposium on Bilingualism, Spain, 5, 156157.
Carpenter, P. A., & Just, M. A. (1983). What your eyes do while your mind is reading. In Rayner, K. (Ed.), Eye movements in reading (pp. 275307). New York: Academic Press.
Carreiras, M., & Clifton, C. (1999). Another word on parsing relative clauses: Eyetracking evidence from Spanish and English. Memory and Cognition, 27, 826833.
Carreiras, M., & Clifton, C. (2004). On the on-line study of language comprehension. In Carreiras, C. & Clifton, C., (Eds.), The on-line study of sentence comprehension: Eyetracking, ERPs, and beyond (pp. 114). New York: Psychology Press.
Clahsen, H., & Felser, C. (2006). Grammatical processing in language learners. Applied Psycholinguistics, 27, 342.
Cooper, R. M. (1974). The control of eye fixation by the meaning of spoken language. A new methodology for the real-time investigation of speech perception, memory, and language processing. Cognitive Psychology, 6, 84107.
Dallas, A., Cowles, H., W., & Kaan, E. (2009, May). The use of verbal properties during the processing of complex sentences. Paper presented at the Workshop on Second Language Processing and Parsing: State of the Science, Lubbock, TX.
Duchowski, A. T. (2002). A breadth-first survey of eye tracking applications. Behavior Methods, Research, Instruments, and Computers, 1, 115.
Dussias, P. E. (2003). Syntactic ambiguity resolution in L2 learners: Some effects of bilinguality on L1 and L2 processing strategies. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 25, 529557.
Dussias, P. E., & Sagarra, N. (2007). The effect of exposure on syntactic parsing in Spanish-English bilinguals. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 10, 101116.
Ehrlich, S. F., & Rayner, K. (1981). Contextual effects on work perception and eye movements during reading. Reading Research Quarterly, 16, 227235.
Elliott, A. R. (2003). Staking out the territory at the turn of the century: Integrating phonological theories, research and the effect of formal instruction on pronunciation in the acquisition of Spanish as a second language. In Lafford, B. & Salaberry, R. (Eds.), Spanish second language acquisition: State of the science, pp. 1946. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.
Felser, C., Cunnings, I., Batterham, C., & Clahsen, H. (2009, May). Constraints on L2 learners’ processing of wh-dependencies: Evidence from eye movements. Paper presented at the Workshop on Second Language Processing and Parsing: State of the Science, Lubbock, TX.
Felser, C., & Roberts, , , L. (2007). Processing wh-dependencies in a second language: A cross-modal priming study. Second Language Research, 23, 936.
Felser, C., Roberts, L., Gross, R., & Marinis, T. (2003). The processing of ambiguous sentences by first and second language learners of English. Applied Psycholinguistics, 24, 453489.
Felser, C., Sato, M., & Bertenshaw, N. (2009). The on-line application of Binding Principle A in English as a second language. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 12, 485502.
Fernández, E. M. (2003). Bilingual sentence processing: Relative clause attachment in English and Spanish. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Flege, J. E., & Eefting, W. (1987). The production and perception of English stops by Spanish speakers of English. Journal of Phonetics, 15, 6783.
Flege, J. E., Schirru, C., & MacKay, I. R. A. (2003). Interaction between the native and second language phonetic subsystems. Speech Communication, 40, 467491.
Frenck-Mestre, C. (2002). An on-line look at sentence processing in the second language. In Heredia, R. R. & Altarriba, J. (Eds.), Bilingual sentence processing (pp. 218236). Amsterdam: Elsevier.
Frenck-Mestre, C. (2005). Ambiguities and anomalies: What can eye movements and event-related potentials reveal about second language sentence processing? In Kroll, J. & de Groot, A. M. B. (Eds.), Handbook of bilingualism: Psycholinguistic perspectives (pp. 268281). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Frenck-Mestre, C., & Pynte, J. (1997). Syntactic ambiguity resolution while reading in second and native languages. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 50, 119148.
Gibson, E., Pearlmutter, N., Canseco-Gonzalez, E., & Hickock, G. (1996). Recency preferences in the human sentence processing mechanism. Cognition, 59, 2359.
Hahne, A., & Friederici, A. D. (2001). Processing a second language: Late learners’ comprehension mechanisms as revealed by event-related brain potentials. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 4, 123142.
Henderson, J. M., & Ferreira, F. (1990). Effects of foveal processing difficulty on the perceptual span in reading: Implications for attention and eye movement control. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 16, 417429.
Jackson, C., & Dussias, P. E. (2009). Cross-linguistic differences and their impact on L2 sentence processing. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 12, 6582.
Ju, M., & Luce, P. A. (2004). Falling on sensitive ears. Psychological Science, 15, 314318.
Juffs, A. (1998). Main verb vs. reduced relative clause ambiguity resolution in L2 sentence processing. Language Learning, 48, 107147.
Juffs, A., & Harrington, M. (1996). Garden path sentences and error data in second language sentence processing research. Language Learning, 46, 286324.
Just, M., & Carpenter, P. (1980). A theory of reading: From eye fixations to comprehension. Psychological Review, 87, 329354.
Keating, G. (2009). Sensitivity to violations of gender agreement in native and nonnative Spanish: An eye-movement investigation. Language Learning, 59, 503535.
Kroll, J. F., & de Groot, A. M. B. (Eds.). (2005). Handbook of bilingualism: Psycholinguistic perspectives. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Kroll, J. F., & Stewart, E. (1994). Category interference in translation and picture naming: Evidence for asymmetric connections between bilingual memory representations. Journal of Memory and Language, 33, 149174.
Lew-Williams, C., & Fernald, A. (2007). Young children learning Spanish make rapid use of grammatical gender in spoken word recognition. Psychological Science. 18, 193198.
Liversedge, S. P., Paterson, K. B., & Pickering, M. J. (1998). Eye movements and measures of reading time. In Underwood, G. (Ed.), Eye guidance in reading and scene perception (pp. 5575). New York: Elsevier.
Love, T., Maas, E., & Swinney, D. (2003). The influence of language exposure on lexical and syntactic language processing. Experimental Psychology, 50, 204216.
Marian, V., & Spivey, M. (2003a). Bilingual and monolingual processing of competing lexical items. Applied Psycholinguistics, 24, 173193.
Marian, V., & Spivey, M. (2003b). Competing activation in bilingual language processing: Within and between-language competition. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 6, 97115.
McConkie, G. W. (1983). Eye movements and perception during reading. In Rayner, K. (Ed.), Eye movement in reading: Perceptual and language processes, (pp. 6596). New York: Academic Press.
McConkie, G. W., Kerr, P. W., Reddix, M. D., & Zola, D. (1988). Eye movement control during reading: The location of initial fixations on words. Vision Research, 28, 11071118.
McConkie, G. W., & Rayner, K. (1975). The span of the effective stimulus during a fixation in reading. Perception & Psychophysics, 17, 578586.
Montrul, S., & Bruhn de Garavito, J. (1999). Generative approaches to the second language acquisition of Spanish [Special issue]. Second Language Research, 15, 111114.
O'Regan, J. K., & Lévy-Schoen, A. (1987). Eye-movement strategy and tactics in word recognition and reading. In Coltheart, M. (Ed.)., Attention and performance: XII. The psychology of reading (pp. 363383). London: Erlbaum.
Osaka, N. (1987). Effect of peripheral visual field size upon eye movements during Japanese text processing. In O'Regan, J. K. & Levy-Schoen, A. (Eds.), Eye movements: From physiology to cognition (pp. 421429). Amsterdam: North-Holland.
Osaka, N. (1990). Spread of visual attention during fixation while reading Japanese text. In Groner, R., d'Ydewalle, G., & Parham, R. (Eds.), From eye to mind: Information acquisition in perception, search and reading (pp. 167178). Amsterdam: North-Holland.
Papadopoulou, D., & Clahsen, H. (2003). Parsing strategies in L1 and L2 sentence processing: A study of relative clause attachment in Greek. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 25, 501528.
Pollatsek, A., Bolozky, S., Well, A. D., & Rayner, K. (1981). Asymmetries in the perceptual span for Israeli readers. Brain and Language, 14, 174180.
Rayner, K. (1978). Eye movements in reading and information processing. Psychological Bulletin, 85, 618660.
Rayner, K. (1983). The perceptual span and eye movement control during reading. In Rayner, K. (Ed.), Eye movement in reading: Perceptual and language processes (pp. 97139). New York: Academic Press.
Rayner, K. (1994). Eye movements during skilled reading. In Ygge, J. & Lennerstrand, G. (Eds.), Eye movements in reading (pp. 205218). Oxford, UK: Pergamon Press.
Rayner, K. (1998). Eye movements in reading and information processing: 20 years of research. Psychological Bulletin, 124, 372422.
Rayner, K., & Clifton, C. (2009). Language processing in reading and speech perception is fast and incremental: Implications for event-related potential research. Biological Psychology, 80, 49.
Rayner, K., & Duffy, S. A. (1986). Lexical complexity and fixation times in reading: Effects of word frequency, verb complexity, and lexical ambiguity. Memory and Cognition, 14, 191201.
Rayner, K., & Pollatsek, A. (1987). Eye movements in reading: A tutorial review. In Coltheart, M. (Ed.), Attention and performance: XII. The psychology of reading (pp. 327362). London: Erlbaum.
Rayner, K., Well, A. D., Pollatsek, A., & Bertera, J. H. (1982). The availability of useful information to the right of fixation in reading. Perception & Psychophysics, 31, 537550.
Reichle, E. D., Pollatsek, A., Fisher, D. L., & Rayner, K. (1998). Toward a model of eye movement control in reading. Psychological Review, 105, 125157.
Roberts, L., Gullberg, M., & Indefrey, P. (2008). Online pronoun resolution in L2 discourse: L1 influence and general learner effects. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 30, 333357.
Schwartz, B. D., & Sprouse, R. (1996). L2 cognitive states and the full transfer/full access model. Second Language Research, 12, 4072.
Smiljanic, R., & Bradlow, A. R. (2005). Production and perception of clear speech on Croatian and English. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 118, 16771688.
Sorace, A. (1993). Incomplete vs. divergent representations of unaccusativity in non-native grammars of Italian. Second Language Research, 9, 2447.
Spivey, M., & Marian, V. (1999). Cross talk between native and second languages: Partial activation of an irrelevant lexicon. Psychological Science, 10, 281284.
Stowe, L., & Sabourin, L. (2005). Imaging the processing of a second language: Effects of maturation and proficiency on the neural processes involved. The entity from which ERIC acquires the content, including journal, organization, and conference names, or by means of online submission from the author.International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching, 43, 329353.
Tanenhaus, M. K., & Spivey-Knowlton, M. J. (1996). Eye-tracking. Language and Cognitive Processes, 11, 583588.
Tanenhaus, M. K., Spivey-Knowlton, M. J., Eberhard, K. M., & Sedivy, J. C. (1995). Integration of visual and linguistic information in spoken language comprehension. Science, 268, 16321634.
Tarone, E. (2007). Sociolinguistic approaches to second language acquisition research, 1997–2007. Modern Language Journal, 91, 837848.
Tokowicz, N., & MacWhinney, B. (2005). Implicit and explicit measures of sensitivity to violations in second language grammar. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 27, 173204.
Trueswell, J. C., Sekerina, I., Hill, N. M., & Logrip, M. L. (1999). The kindergarten-path effect: Studying on-line sentence processing in young children. Cognition, 73, 89134.
Valdés Kroff, J., Guzzardo, R., Dussias, P. E., Gerfen, C., & Gullifer, J. (2008, March). Grammatical gender in processing Spanish-English code-switches: A visual world study. Paper presented at the CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC.
van Hell, J. G., & Tokowicz, N. (2009). Event-related brain potentials and second language learning: Syntactic processing in late L2 learners at different L2 proficiency levels. Second Language Research, 25, 465496.
Weber, A., & Cutler, A. (2004). Lexical competition in non-native spoken-word recognition. Journal of Memory and Language, 50, 125.
Weber, A., & Paris, G. (2004). The origin of the linguistic gender effect in spoken-word recognition: Evidence from non-native listening. Proceedings of the 26th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, 26, 14461451.
Weber-Fox, C., & Neville, H. J. (1996). Maturational constraints on functional specializations for language processing: ERP and behavioral evidence in bilingual speakers. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 8, 231256.
White, L. (2003). Second language acquisition and Universal Grammar. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
White, L., Bruhn-Garavito, J., Kawasaki, T., Pater, J., & Prévost, P. (1997). The researcher gave the subject a test about himself: Problems of ambiguity and preference in the investigation of reflexive binding. Language Learning, 47, 145172.
Wilson, M. P., & Garnsey, S. (2009). Making simple sentences hard: Verb bias effects in simple direct object sentences. Journal of Memory and Language, 60, 368392.
Witzel, J., Witzel, N., & Nicol, J. (2009, May). The reading of structurally ambiguous sentences by English language learners. Paper presented at the Workshop on Second Language Processing and Parsing: State of the Science, Lubbock, TX.
Zagar, D., Pynte, J., & Rativeau, S. (1997). Evidence for early closure attachment on first-pass reading times in French. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 50A, 421438.

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed