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  • Leah Roberts (a1) and Anna Siyanova-Chanturia (a2)


Second language (L2) researchers are becoming more interested in both L2 learners’ knowledge of the target language and how that knowledge is put to use during real-time language processing. Researchers are therefore beginning to see the importance of combining traditional L2 research methods with those that capture the moment-by-moment interpretation of the target language, such as eye-tracking. The major benefit of the eye-tracking method is that it can tap into real-time (or online) comprehension processes during the uninterrupted processing of the input, and thus, the data can be compared to those elicited by other, more metalinguistic tasks to offer a broader picture of language acquisition and processing. In this article, we present an overview of the eye-tracking technique and illustrate the method with L2 studies that show how eye-tracking data can be used to (a) investigate language-related topics and (b) inform key debates in the fields of L2 acquisition and L2 processing.


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*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Anna Siyanova-Chanturia, School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand, 6140. E-mail:


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We would like to thank two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on previous versions of this article.



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