Skip to main content Accessibility help


  • YouJin Kim (a1), YeonJoo Jung (a2) and Stephen Skalicky (a3)


The current study examined the occurrence and benefits of linguistic alignment in two modalities, face-to-face (FTF) and synchronous computer-mediated communication (SCMC), focusing on stranded prepositions in relative clauses. It further examined how learner characteristics (i.e., working memory, language proficiency, previous knowledge of the target structure) mediate the effects of linguistic alignment. Ninety-four Korean students were assigned to one of the following groups: FTF alignment, SCMC alignment, FTF control, and SCMC control. The alignment experimental groups completed two alignment sessions, finished three stranded preposition tests, and carried out a running span test and cloze test over three weeks. Results indicated not only that linguistic alignment occurred in both FTF and SCMC modes but also that alignment was facilitated significantly more in the SCMC than FTF interactions. Furthermore, the findings suggest immediate and delayed learning effects in both modalities, and that learners’ prior knowledge of the target structure was significantly associated with the occurrence of alignment.


Corresponding author

*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to YouJin Kim, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Daejeon, South Korea. E-mail:


Hide All

The project was funded by Language Learning Small Research Grant which was awarded to the first author.



Hide All
Atkinson, D., Churchill, E., Nishino, T., & Okada, H. (2007). Alignment and interaction in a sociocognitive approach to second language acquisition. The Modern Language Journal, 91, 169188.
Baayen, R. H., Davidson, D. J., & Bates, D. M. (2008). Mixed-effects modeling with crossed random effects for subjects and items. Journal of Memory and Language, 59, 390412.
Baguley, T. (2012). Serious stats: A guide to advanced statistics for the behavioral sciences. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
Bates, D., Maechler, M., Bolker, B., & Walker, S. (2015). lme4: Linear mixed-effects models using Eigen and S4 (Version 1.1-7) [Computer software]. Retrieved from
Behney, J., & Gass, S. (2013). Interaction and noun phrase accessibility hierarchy: A study using syntactic priming. In Schwieter, J. W. (Ed.), Innovative research and practices in second language acquisition and bilingualism (pp. 4362). Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins.
Bernolet, S., Hartsuiker, R. J., & Pickering, M. J. (2013). From language-specific to shared syntactic representations: The influence of second language proficiency on syntactic sharing in bilinguals. Cognition, 127, 287306.
Biber, B., Johansson, S., Leech, G., Conrad, S., & Finegan, E. (1999). Longman grammar of spoken and written English . Harlow, UK: Pearson Education.
Branigan, H. P., Garrod, S., & Pickering, M. J. (2014). Alignment (interactive). In Brooks, P. J. & Kempe, V. (Eds.), Encyclopedia of language development (pp. 1316). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
Branigan, H. P., Pickering, M. J., & Cleland, A. A. (2000). Syntactic co-ordination in dialogue. Cognition, 75, B13B25.
Branigan, H. P., Pickering, M. J., McLean, J. F., & Cleland, A. A. (2007). Syntactic alignment and participant role in dialogue. Cognition, 104, 163197.
Branigan, H. P., Pickering, M. J., Pearson, J., & McLean, J. F. (2010). Linguistic alignment between people and computers. Journal of Pragmatics, 42, 23552368.
Broadway, J. M., & Engle, R. W. (2010). Validating running memory span: Measurement of working memory capacity and links with fluid intelligence. Behavior Research Methods, 42, 563570.
Brown, J. D. (1980). Relative merits of four methods for scoring cloze tests. The Modern Language Journal, 64, 311317.
Brown, J. D. (2002). Do cloze tests work? Or, is it just an illusion? Second Language Studies, 21, 79125.
Chang, F., Dell, G. S., & Bock, K. (2006). Becoming syntactic. Psychological Review, 113, 234272.
Cleland, A. A., & Pickering, M. J. (2006). Do writing and speaking employ the same syntactic representations? Journal of Memory and Language, 54, 185198.
Collentine, J., & Collentine, K. (2013). A corpus approach to studying structural convergence in task-based Spanish L2 interactions. In McDonough, K. & Mackey, A. (Eds.), Second language interaction in diverse educational contexts (pp. 167188). Amsterdam, The Netherlands: John Benjamins.
Conroy, M. A., & Antón-Méndez, I. (2015). A preposition is something you can end a sentence with: Learning English stranded prepositions through structural priming. Second Language Research, 31, 211235.
Dimitriadis, E. (2007). A preposition is something which you should never end a sentence with: A corpus-based study on preposition stranding. Retrieved from
Foltz, A., Gaspers, J., Meyer, C., Thiele, K., Cimiano, P., & Stenneken, P. (2015). Temporal effects of alignment in text-based, task-oriented discourse. Discourse Processes, 52, 609641.
Garrod, S., & Pickering, M. J. (2007). Alignment in dialogue. In Gaskell, G. (Ed.), Oxford handbook of psycholinguistics (pp. 443451). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Gómez, R. L. (2002). Variability and detection of invariant structure. Psychological Science, 13, 431436.
Hartsuiker, R. J., & Bernolet, S. (2017). The development of shared syntax in second language learning. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 20, 219234.
Hartsuiker, R. J., Bernolet, S., Schoonbaert, S., Speybroeck, S., & Vanderelst, D. (2008). Syntactic priming persists while the lexical boost decays: Evidence from written and spoken dialogue. Journal of Memory and Language, 58, 214238.
Hinofotis, F. B. (1980). Cloze as an alternative method of ESL placement and proficiency testing. In Oller, J. W. Jr. & Perkins, K. (Eds.), Research in language testing (pp. 121128). Rowley, MA: Newbury House.
Hokari, T., & Wakabayashi, S. (2009). Null prepositions in wh-questions and passives. In Bowles, M., Ionin, T., Montrul, S., & Tremblay, A. (Eds.), Proceedings: Paper presented at the 10th Generative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition Conference (GASLA 2009), the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana-Champaign, 13–15 March (pp. 3545). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.
Jaeger, T. F. (2008). Categorical data analysis: Away from ANOVAs (transformation or not) and towards logit mixed models. Journal of Memory and Language, 59, 434446.
Kim, C. E., & O’Grady, W. (2016). Asymmetries in children’s production of relative clauses: Data from English and Korean. Journal of Child Language, 43, 10381071.
Kim, Y., & McDonough, K. (2008). Learners’ production of passives during syntactic priming activities. Applied Linguistics, 29, 149154.
Klein, E. C. (1993). Toward second language acquisition: A study of null prep. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer.
Kuznetsova, A., Brockhoff, B., & Christensen, H. B. (2015). lmerTest: Tests for random and fixed effects for linear mixed effect models (lmer objects of the lme4 package).
Lenth, R. (2018). emmeans: Estimated Marginal Means, aka Least-Squares Means. R Package Version 1.2.2. Retrieved from
Levshina, N. (2015). How to do linguistics with R: Data exploration and statistical analysis. Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins.
Mackey, A., Abbuhl, R., & Gass, S. M. (2012). Interactionist approach. In Gass, S. M. & Mackey, A. (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of second language acquisition (pp. 723). New York, NY: Routledge.
Markee, N., & Kunitz, S. (2013). Doing planning and task performance in second language acquisition: An ethnomethodological respecification. Language Learning, 63, 629664.
Marsden, E., Altmann, G., & St. Claire, M. (2013). Priming of verb inflections in L1 and L2 French: A comparison of redundant versus non-redundant training conditions. International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching, 51, 271298.
Marsden, E., Williams, J., & Liu, X. (2013). Learning novel morphology: The role of meaning and orientation of attention at initial exposure. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 35, 619654.
McDonough, K. (2005). Identifying the contributions of negative feedback and learners’ responses to L2 development. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 27, 79103.
McDonough, K. (2006). Interaction and syntactic priming: English L2 speakers’ production of dative constructions. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 28, 179207.
McDonough, K., & Chaikitmongkol, W. (2010). Collaborative syntactic priming activities and EFL learners’ production of wh-questions. Canadian Modern Language Review, 66, 817841.
McDonough, K., & De Vleeschauwer, J. (2012). Prompt-type frequency, auditory pattern discrimination, and EFL learners’ production of wh-questions. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 34, 355377.
McDonough, K., & Fulga, A. (2015). The detection and primed production of novel constructions. Language Learning, 65, 326357.
McDonough, K., Kielstra, P., Crowther, D., & Smith, G. (2016). Structural priming in L2 speech production: Examining relationships among English L2 speakers’ production, cognitive abilities, and awareness. In Mackey, A. & Marsden, E. (Eds.), Instruments for research into second languages: Empirical studies advancing methodology (pp. 112131). New York, NY: Routledge.
McDonough, K., & Kim, Y. (2009). Syntactic priming, type frequency, and EFL learners’ production of wh-questions. Modern Language Journal, 93, 386398.
McDonough, K., & Kim, Y. (2016). Working memory and L2 English speakers’ primed and subsequent production of passives. In Granena, G., Jackson, D. O., & Yilmaz, Y. (Eds.), Cognitive individual differences in second language processing and acquisition (pp. 205222). Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins.
McDonough, K., & Mackey, A. (2006). Responses to recasts: Repetitions, primed production, and linguistic development. Language Learning, 56, 693720.
McDonough, K., & Mackey, A. (2008). Syntactic priming and ESL question development. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 30, 3147.
McDonough, K., & Trofimovich, P. (2009). Using priming methods in second language research. New York, NY: Routledge.
McDonough, K., Neumann, H., & Trofimovich, P. (2015). Eliciting production of L2 target structures through priming activities. Canadian Modern Language Review, 71, 7595.
McKee, C., & McDaniel, D. (2001). Resumptive pronouns in English relative clauses. Language Acquisition, 9, 113156.
Michel, M., & Smith, B. (2017). Eye-tracking research in computer-mediated language learning. In Thorne, S., May, S. (Eds.), Language, Education and Technology (pp. 112). New York, NY: Springer.
Michel, M., & Smith, B. (2018). Measuring lexical alignment during L2 chat interaction: An eye-tracking study. In Gass, S., Spinner, P., & Behney, J. (Eds.), Salience in second language acquisition (pp. 244267). New York, NY: Routledge.
Nakagawa, S., & Schielzeth, H. (2013). A general and simple method for obtaining R2 from generalized linear mixed-effects models. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 4, 133142.
O’Grady, W. (2011). Relative clauses: Processing and acquisition. In Kidd, E. (Ed.), The acquisition of relative clauses: Processing, typology and function (pp. 1338). Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins.
Oiler, J. W., & Conrad, C. A. (1971). The cloze technique and ESL proficiency. Language Learning, 21, 183194.
Pickering, M. J., & Ferreira, V. S. (2008). Structural priming: A critical review. Psychological Bulletin, 134, 427459.
Pickering, M. J., & Garrod, S. (2004). The interactive-alignment model: Developments and refinements. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 27, 212225.
Plonsky, L., & Gass, S. (2011). Quantitative research methods, study quality, and outcomes: The case of interaction research. Language Learning, 61, 325366.
Psychological Corporation. (1997). WMS-III administration and scoring manual. San Antonio, TX: Harcourt Brace & Company.
R Core Team. (2016). R: A language and environment for statistical computing. Vienna, Austria: R Foundation for Statistical Computing. Retrieved from
Redick, T. S., & Lindsey, D. R. (2013). Complex span and n-back measures of working memory: A meta-analysis. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 20, 11021113.
Sadighi, F., Parhizgar, M. R., & Saadat, M. (2004). Preposition pied-piping and preposition stranding constructions in the interlanguage grammar of Iranian EFL learners. Asian EFL Journal, 6, 133.
Sauro, S. (2011). SCMC for SLA: A research synthesis. CALICO Journal, 28, 369391.
Schmidt, R. (2001). Attention. In Robinson, P. (Ed.), Cognition and second language instruction (pp. 132). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Shin, J.-A., & Christianson, K. (2012). Structural priming and second language learning. Language Learning, 62, 931964.
Trofimovich, P. (2016). Interactive alignment: A teaching-friendly view of second language pronunciation learning. Language Teaching, 49, 411422.
Trofimovich, P., McDonough, K., & Foote, J. A. (2014). Interactive alignment of multisyllabic stress patterns in a second language classroom. TESOL Quarterly, 48, 815832.
Trofimovich, P., McDonough, K., & Neumann, H. (2013). Using collaborative tasks to elicit auditory and structural priming. TESOL Quarterly, 47, 177186.
Uzum, B. (2010). An investigation of alignment in CMC from a sociocognitive perspective. CALICO Journal, 28, 135155.
Ziegler, N. (2016). Synchronous computer-mediated communication and interaction. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 38, 553586.
Zwaan, R. A., & Radvansky, G. A. (1998). Situation models in language comprehension and memory. Psychological Bulletin, 123, 162185.


  • YouJin Kim (a1), YeonJoo Jung (a2) and Stephen Skalicky (a3)


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