Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Past tense grammaticality judgment and production in non-native and stressed native English speakers

  • JANET L. MCDONALD (a1) and CRISTINE C. ROUSSEL (a1)

Abstract

This paper explores whether the poor mastery of morphosyntax exhibited by second language (L2) learners can be tied to difficulties with non-syntactic processing. Specifically, we examine whether problems with English regular and irregular past tense are related to poor L2 phonological ability and lexical access, respectively. In Experiment 1, L2 learners showed poorer past tense mastery than native English speakers in grammaticality judgment and production tasks. L2 phonological ability was positively correlated with correct performance on regular verbs and negatively with unmarked production. L2 lexical access was positively correlated with correct performance on irregular verbs, and negatively with overregularization production. Experiment 2 simulated these difficulties in native English speakers by placing them under phonological processing (noise) or lexical access (deadline) stress. Noise selectively impacted regular verbs in grammaticality judgment but impacted all verb types in production. Deadline pressure impacted irregular verbs while sparing regular verbs across both tasks. Thus, non-syntactic processing difficulties can have specific impacts on morphosyntactic performance in both non-native and native English speakers.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Janet L. McDonald, Department of Psychology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USApsmcdo@lsu.edu

Footnotes

Hide All
*

A preliminary version of the data reported in this paper was presented at the 47th annual meeting of the Psychonomic Society, Houston, TX. We thank Matthew Calamia, Patrick Johnson, Alina Oster, Michael Rhea, and Erin Thomas for help in gathering the data.

Footnotes

References

Hide All
Baayen, R. H., & Moscoso del Prado Martin, F. (2005). Semantic density and past-tense formation in three Germanic languages. Language, 81, 666698.10.1353/lan.2005.0112
Baker, W., & Trofimovich, P. (2005). Interaction of native- and second-language vowel system(s) in early and late bilinguals. Language and Speech, 48, 127.10.1177/00238309050480010101
Basnight-Brown, D. M., Chen, L., Hua, S., Kostic, A., & Feldman, L. B. (2007). Monolingual and bilingual recognition of regular and irregular English verbs: Sensitivity to form similarity varies with first language experience. Journal of Memory and Language, 57, 6580.10.1016/j.jml.2007.03.001
Beck, M. L. (1997). Regular verbs, past tense, and frequency: Tracking down a potential source of NS/NNS competence differences. Second Language Research, 13, 93115.10.1191/026765897670780840
Bird, H., Lambon Ralph, M. A., Seidenberg, M. S., McClelland, J. L., & Patterson, K. (2003). Deficits in phonology and past-tense morphology: What's the connection? Journal of Memory and Language, 48, 502526.10.1016/S0749-596X(02)00538-7
Birdsong, D., & Flege, J. E. (2001). Regular–irregular dissociations in L2 acquisition of English morphology. BUCLD25: Proceedings of the 25th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development, pp. 123132. Boston, MA: Cascadilla Press.
Blackwell, A., & Bates, E. (1995). Inducing agrammatic profiles in normals: Evidence for the selective vulnerability of morphology under cognitive resource limitation. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 7, 228257.10.1162/jocn.1995.7.2.228
Braber, N., Patterson, K., Ellis, K., & Lambon Ralph, M. A. (2005). The relationship between phonological and morphological deficits in Broca's aphasia: Further evidence from errors in verb inflection. Brain & Language, 92, 278287.10.1016/j.bandl.2004.05.012
Burzio, L. (2002). Missing players: Phonology and the past tense debate. Lingua, 112, 157199.10.1016/S0024-3841(01)00041-9
Bybee, J. L., & Slobin, D. I. (1982). Rules and schema in the development and use of the English past tense. Language, 58, 265289.10.1353/lan.1982.0021
Cameli, L., Phillips, N. A., Kousaie, S., & Panisset, M. (2005). Memory and language in bilingual Alzheimer and Parkinson patients: Insights from verb inflection. In Cohen, J., McAlister, K. T., Rolstad, K. & MacSwan, J. (eds.), ISB4: Proceedings of the 4th International Symposium on Bilingualism, pp. 452476. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press.
Clark, H. H. (1973). The language-as-fixed-effect fallacy. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 12, 335359.10.1016/S0022-5371(73)80014-3
Cortese, M. J., Balota, D. A., Sergent-Marshall, S. D., Buckner, R. L., & Gold, B. T. (2006). Consistency and regularity in past-tense verb generation in healthy ageing, Alzheimer's disease, and semantic dementia. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 23, 856876.10.1080/02643290500483124
Dick, F., Bates, E., & Ferstl, E. C. (2003). Spectral and temporal degradation of speech as a simulation of morphosyntactic deficits in English and German. Brain & Language, 85, 535542.10.1016/S0093-934X(03)00093-2
Dick, F., Bates, E., Wulfeck, B., Utman, J. A., Dronkers, N., & Gernsbacher, M. A. (2001). Language deficits, localization, and grammar: Evidence for a distributive model of language breakdown in aphasic patients and neurologically intact individuals. Psychological Review, 108, 759788.10.1037/0033-295X.108.4.759
Ellis, A. W., & Morrison, C. M. (1998). Real age-of-acquisition effects in lexical retrieval. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, 24, 515523.
Flege, J. E., Bohn, O., & Jang, S. (1997). Effects of experience on non-native speakers’ production and perception of English vowels. Journal of Phonetics, 25, 437470.10.1006/jpho.1997.0052
Flege, J. E., & MacKay, I. R. A. (2004). Perceiving vowels in a second language. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 26, 134.10.1017/S0272263104261010
Fox, R. A., Flege, J. E., & Munro, M. J. (1995). The perception of English and Spanish vowels by native English and Spanish listeners: A multidimensional scaling analysis. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 97, 25402551.10.1121/1.411974
Francis, W. N., & Kucera, H. (1982). Frequency analysis of English usage: Lexicon and grammar. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.
Gollan, T. H., Montoya, R. I., Fennema-Notestine, C., & Morris, S. K. (2005). Bilingualism affects picture naming but not picture classification. Memory & Cognition, 33, 12201234.10.3758/BF03193224
Hayiou-Thomas, M. E., Bishop, D. V. M., & Plunkett, K. (2004). Simulating SLI: General cognitive processing stressors can produce a specific linguistic profile. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 47, 13471362.10.1044/1092-4388(2004/101)
Hirsh, K. W., Morrison, C. M., Gaset, S., & Carnicer, E. (2003). Age of acquisition and speech production in L2. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 6, 117128.10.1017/S136672890300107X
Jia, G., & Fuse, A. (2007). Acquisition of English grammatical morphology by native Mandarin-speaking children and adolescents: Age-related differences. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 50, 12801299.10.1044/1092-4388(2007/090)
Jiang, N. (2004). Morphological insensitivity in second language processing. Applied Psycholinguistics, 25, 603634.10.1017/S0142716404001298
Jiang, N. (2007). Selective integration of linguistic knowledge in adult second language learning. Language Learning, 57, 133.10.1111/j.1467-9922.2007.00397.x
Joanisse, M. F., & Seidenberg, M. S. (1999). Impairments in verb morphology after brain injury: A connectionist model. Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences, 96, 75927597.10.1073/pnas.96.13.7592
Johnson, J. S., & Newport, E. L. (1989). Critical period effects in second language learning: The influence of maturational state on the acquisition of English as a second language. Cognitive Psychology, 21, 6099.10.1016/0010-0285(89)90003-0
Johnson, J. S., Shenkman, K. D., Newport, E. L., & Medin, D. L. (1996). Indeterminacy in the grammar of adult language learners. Journal of Memory and Language, 35, 335352.10.1006/jmla.1996.0019
Kohnert, K. J., Hernandez, A. E., & Bates, E. (1998). Bilingual performance on the Boston Naming Test: Preliminary norms in Spanish and English. Brain & Language, 65, 422440.10.1006/brln.1998.2001
Lambacher, S. G., Martens, W. L., Kakehi, K., Marasinghe, C. A., & Molholt, G. (2005). The effects of identification training on the identification and production of American English vowels by native speakers of Japanese. Applied Psycholinguistics, 26, 227247.10.1017/S0142716405050150
Lambon Ralph, M. A., Braber, N., McClelland, J. L., & Patterson, K. (2005). What underlies the neuropsychological pattern of irregular > regular past-tense production? Brain & Language, 93, 106119.10.1016/j.bandl.2004.09.001
Lenneberg, E. (1967). Biological foundations of language. New York: Wiley.10.1080/21548331.1967.11707799
Marchman, V. A. (1997). Children's productivity in the English past tense: The role of frequency, phonology, and neighborhood structure. Cognitive Science, 21, 283304.10.1207/s15516709cog2103_2
Marchman, V. A., Wulfeck, B., & Ellis Weismer, S. (1999). Morphological productivity in children with normal language and SLI: A study of the English past tense. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 42, 206219.10.1044/jslhr.4201.206
McClelland, J. L., & Patterson, K. (2002). Rules or connections in past-tense inflections: What does the evidence rule out? Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 6, 465472.10.1016/S1364-6613(02)01993-9
McDonald, J. L. (2000). Grammaticality judgments in a second language: Influences of age of acquisition and native language. Applied Psycholinguistics, 21, 395423.10.1017/S0142716400003064
McDonald, J. L. (2006). Alternatives to the critical period hypothesis: Processing-based explanations for poor grammaticality judgment performance by late second language learners. Journal of Memory and Language, 55, 381401.10.1016/j.jml.2006.06.006
McDonald, J. L. (2008). Grammaticality judgments in children: The role of age, working memory and phonological ability. Journal of Child Language, 35, 247268.10.1017/S0305000907008367
Meador, D., Flege, J. E., & MacKay, I. R. (2000). Factors affecting the recognition of words in a second language. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 3, 5567.10.1017/S1366728900000134
Meisel, J. M. (1997). The acquisition of the syntax of negation in French and German: Contrasting first and second language development. Second Language Research, 13, 227263.10.1191/026765897666180760
Miozzo, M. (2003). On the processing of regular and irregular forms of verbs and nouns: Evidence from neuropsychology. Cognition, 87, 101127.10.1016/s0010-0277(02)00200-7
Miyake, A., Carpenter, P. A., & Just, M. A. (1996). A capacity approach to syntactic comprehension disorders: Making normal adults perform like aphasic patients. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 11, 671717.10.1080/02643299408251989
Murphy, V. A. (2004). Dissociable systems in second language inflectional morphology. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 26, 433459.10.1017/S0272263104263033
Nation, K., Snowling, M. J., & Clarke, P. (2005). Production of the English past tense by children with language comprehension impairments. Journal of Child Language, 32, 117137.10.1017/S0305000904006555
Paradis, J., & Crago, M. (2000). Tense and temporality: Similarities and differences between language-impaired and second-language children. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 43, 834848.10.1044/jslhr.4304.834
Paradis, J., Rice, M. L., Crago, M., & Marquis, J. (2008). The acquisition of tense in English: Distinguishing child second language from first language and specific language impairment. Applied Psycholinguistics, 29, 689722.10.1017/S0142716408080296
Patterson, K., Lambon Ralph, M. A., Hodges, J. R., & McClelland, J. L. (2001). Deficits in irregular past-tense verb morphology associated with degraded semantic knowledge. Neuropsychologia, 39, 709724.10.1016/S0028-3932(01)00008-2
Pinker, S. (1994). The language instinct: How the mind creates language. New York: William Morrow.10.1037/e412952005-009
Pinker, S. (1999). Words and rules: The ingredients of language. New York: Basic Books.
Pinker, S., & Ullman, M. T. (2002). The past and future of the past tense. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 6, 456463.10.1016/S1364-6613(02)01990-3
Prévost, P., & White, L. (2000). Missing surface inflection or impairment in second language acquisition? Evidence from tense and agreement. Second Language Research, 16, 103133.10.1191/026765800677556046
Roberts, P. M., Garcia, L. J., Desrochers, A., & Hernandez, D. (2002). English performance of proficient bilingual adults on the Boston Naming Test. Aphasiology, 16, 635645.10.1080/02687030244000220
Rumelhart, D. E., & McClelland, J. L. (1986). On learning the past tense of English verbs. In McClelland, J. L. & Rumelhart, D. E. (eds.), Parallel distributed processing, pp. 217270. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.10.7551/mitpress/5236.001.0001
Sleve, L. R., & Miyake, A. (2006). Individual differences in second-language proficiency. Psychological Science, 17, 675681.10.1111/j.1467-9280.2006.01765.x
Stemberger, J. P. (2004). Phonological priming and irregular past. Journal of Memory and Language, 50, 8295.10.1016/j.jml.2003.08.005
Szekely, A., Jacobsen, T., D'Amico, S., Devescovi, A., Andonova, E., Herron, D., Lu, C. C., Pechmann, T., Pleh, C., Wicha, N., Federmeier, K., Gerdjikova, I., Gutierrez, G., Hung, D., Hsu, J., Iyer, G., Kohnert, K., Mehotcheva, T., Orozco-Figueroa, A., Tzeng, A., Tzeng, O., Arevalo, A., Vargha, A., Butler, A. C., Buffington, R., & Bates, E. (2004). A new on-line resource for psycholinguistic studies. Journal of Memory and Language, 51 (2), 247250.10.1016/j.jml.2004.03.002
Tyler, L. K., deMornay-Davies, P., Anokhina, R., Longworth, C., Randall, B., & Marslen-Wilson, W. D. (2002a). Dissociations in processing past tense morphology: Neuropathology and behavioral studies. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 14, 7994.10.1162/089892902317205348
Tyler, L. K., Randall, B., & Marslen-Wilson, W. D. (2002b). Phonology and neuropsychology of the English past tense. Neuropsychologia, 40, 11541166.10.1016/S0028-3932(01)00232-9
Ullman, M. T. (2006). The declarative/procedural model and the shallow structure hypothesis. Applied Psycholinguistics, 27, 97105.
Ullman, M. T., Corkin, S., Coppola, M., Hickok, G., Growdon, J. H., Koroshetz, W. J., & Pinker, S. (1997). A neural dissociation within language: Evidence that the mental dictionary is part of declarative memory, and that grammatical rules are processed by the procedural system. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 9, 266276.10.1162/jocn.1997.9.2.266
Ullman, M. T., Pancheva, R., Love, T., Yee, E., Swinney, D., & Hickok, G. (2005). Neural correlates of lexicon and grammar: Evidence from the production, reading, and judgment of inflection in aphasia. Brain & Language, 93, 185238.10.1016/j.bandl.2004.10.001
Weber, A., & Cutler, A. (2004). Lexical competition in non-native spoken-word recognition. Journal of Memory and Language, 50, 125.10.1016/S0749-596X(03)00105-0
Yeni-Komshian, G. H., Flege, J. E., & Liu, S. (2000). Pronunciation proficiency in the first and second languages of Korean–English bilinguals. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 3, 131149.10.1017/S1366728900000225
Zhang, J., & Mueller, S. T. (2005). A not on ROC analysis and non-parametric estimate of sensitivity. Psychometrika, 70, 145154.10.1007/s11336-003-1119-8

Keywords

Related content

Powered by UNSILO
Type Description Title
PDF
Supplementary materials

McDonald supplementary material
Appendix.pdf

 PDF (19 KB)
19 KB

Past tense grammaticality judgment and production in non-native and stressed native English speakers

  • JANET L. MCDONALD (a1) and CRISTINE C. ROUSSEL (a1)

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.