Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Processing subject–verb agreement in a second language depends on proficiency*

  • NORIKO HOSHINO (a1), PAOLA E. DUSSIAS (a1) and JUDITH F. KROLL (a1)

Abstract

Subject–verb agreement is a computation that is often difficult to execute perfectly in the first language (L1) and even more difficult to produce skillfully in a second language (L2). In this study, we examine the way in which bilingual speakers complete sentence fragments in a manner that reflects access to both grammatical and conceptual number. In two experiments, we show that bilingual speakers are sensitive to both grammatical and conceptual number in the L1 and grammatical number agreement in the L2. However, only highly proficient bilinguals are also sensitive to conceptual number in the L2. The results suggest that the extent to which speakers are able to exploit conceptual information during speech planning depends on the level of language proficiency.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Noriko Hoshino, ESRC Centre for Research on Bilingualism in Theory and Practice, Bangor University, Bangor Gwynedd LL57 2DG, UKn.hoshino@bangor.ac.uk

Footnotes

Hide All
*

This study was completed by the first author as a master's thesis under the direction of the second and third authors. The research reported in this paper was supported in part by NSF Grant BCS-0418071 and NIH Grant R01-HD053146 to Judith F. Kroll, by NIH Grant HD50629 and NSF Grant BCS-0821924 to Paola E. Dussias and by NSF Dissertation Grant BCS-0518814 to Noriko Hoshino and Judith F. Kroll. We thank James Burns, Natalie De Rosa, Mark Minnick, Judith Pirela and Raul Rios for research assistance. Preliminary results were presented at the 43rd Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society, the 4th International Symposium on Bilingualism, and the 4th International Conference on the Mental Lexicon.

Footnotes

References

Hide All
Azuma, T. & Van Orden, G. C. (1997). Why safe is better than fast: The relatedness of a word's meanings affects lexical decision times. Journal of Memory and Language, 36, 484504.
Bialystok, E., Craik, F. I. M., Klein, R. & Viswanathan, M. (2004). Bilingualism, aging and cognitive control: Evidence from the Simon task. Psychology and Aging, 19, 290303.
Bock, K., Eberhard, K. M. & Cutting, J. C. (2004). Producing number agreement: How pronouns equal verbs. Journal of Memory and Language, 51, 251278.
Bock, K. & Miller, C. A. (1991). Broken agreement. Cognitive Psychology, 23, 4593.
Chen, L., Shu, H., Liu, Y., Zhao, J. & Li, P. (2007). ERP signatures of subject–verb agreement in L2 learning. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 10, 161174.
Costa, A. & Caramazza, A. (1999). Is lexical selection language specific? Further evidence from Spanish–English bilinguals. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 2, 231244.
Eberhard, K. M. (1999). The accessibility of conceptual number to the processes of subject–verb agreement in English. Journal of Memory and Language, 41, 560578.
Finkbeiner, M., Forster, K., Nicol, J. & Nakamura, K. (2004). The role of polysemy in masked semantic and translation priming. Journal of Memory and Language, 51, 122.
Hartsuiker, R. J. & Barkhuysen, P. N. (2006). Language production and working memory: The case of subject–verb agreement. Language and Cognitive Processes, 21, 181204.
Hartsuiker, R. J., Kolk, H. H. J. & Huinck, W. J. (1999). Agrammatic production of subject–verb agreement: The effect of conceptual number. Brain and Language, 69, 119160.
Hasegawa, M., Carpenter, P. A. & Just, M. A. (2002). An fMRI study of bilingual sentence comprehension and workload. NeuroImage, 15, 647660.
Hoshino, N., Dussias, P. E. & Kroll, J. F. (in preparation). Producing subject–verb agreement: Does L1 syntax influence L2 performance? Unpublished manuscript, Pennsylvania State University, University Park.
Jiang, N. (2004). Morphological insensitivity in second language processing. Applied Psycholinguistics, 25, 603634.
Kotz, S. A. & Elston-Güttler, K. (2004). The role of proficiency on processing categorical and associative information in the L2 as revealed by reaction times and event-related potentials. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 17, 215235.
Michael, E. B. & Gollan, T. H. (2005). Being and becoming bilingual: Individual differences and consequences for language production. In Kroll, J. F. & De Groot, A. M. B. (eds.), Handbook of bilingualism: Psycholinguistic approaches, pp. 389410. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Miyake, A. & Friedman, N. F. (1998). Individual differences in second language proficiency: Working memory as language aptitude. In Healy, A. F. & Bourne, L. E. (eds.), Foreign language learning: Psycholinguistic studies on training and retention, pp. 339364. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Nicol, J. & Greth, D. (2003). Production of subject–verb agreement in Spanish as a second language. Experimental Psychology, 50, 196203.
Nicol, J., Teller, M. & Greth, D. (2001). Production of verb agreement in monolingual, bilingual and second-language speakers. In Nicol, J. (ed.), One mind, two languages: Bilingual language processing, pp. 117133. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Segalowitz, N. & Hulstijn, J. (2005). Automaticity in bilingualism and second language learning. In Kroll, J. F. & De Groot, A. M. B. (eds.), Handbook of bilingualism: Psycholinguistic approaches, pp. 371388. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Silverberg, S. & Samuel, A. (2004). The effect of age of second language acquisition on the representation and processing of second language words. Journal of Memory and Language, 51, 381398.
Van Hell, J. & Mensies, M. (2004). Subject–verb agreement in beginning L2 learners and fluent bilinguals. Paper presented at the 45th Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society of America, Minneapolis, November 18–21.
Van Heuven, W. J. B., Dijkstra, A. & Grainger, J. (1998). Orthographic neighborhood effects in bilingual word recognition. Journal of Memory and Language, 39, 458483.
Vigliocco, G., Butterworth, B. & Garrett, M. F. (1996). Subject–verb agreement in Spanish and English: Differences in the role of conceptual constraints. Cognition, 61, 261298.
Vigliocco, G., Butterworth, B. & Semenza, C. (1995). Constructing subject–verb agreement in speech: The role of semantic and morphological factors. Journal of Memory and Language, 34, 186215.
Vigliocco, G. & Hartsuiker, R. J. (2002). The interplay of meaning, sound, and syntax in sentence production. Psychological Bulletin, 128, 442472.
Vigliocco, G., Hartsuiker, R. J., Jarema, G. & Kolk, H. H. J. (1996). One or more labels on the bottles? Notional concord in Dutch and French. Language and Cognitive Processes, 11, 407442.
Vigliocco, G. & Zilli, T. (1999). Syntactic accuracy in sentence production: The case of gender disagreement in Italian language-impaired and unimpaired speakers. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 28, 623648

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

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