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ERIC Number: EJ1048746
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Jan
Pages: 30
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 44
ISSN: ISSN-0267-6583
Visual Attention and Quantifier-Spreading in Heritage Russian Bilinguals
Sekerina, Irina A.; Sauermann, Antje
Second Language Research, v31 n1 p75-104 Jan 2015
It is well established in language acquisition research that monolingual children and adult second language learners misinterpret sentences with the universal quantifier "every" and make quantifier-spreading errors that are attributed to a preference for a match in number between two sets of objects. The present Visual World eye-tracking study tested bilingual heritage Russian-English adults and investigated how they interpret of sentences like "Every alligator lies in a bathtub" in both languages. Participants performed a sentence-picture verification task while their eye movements were recorded. Pictures showed three pairs of alligators in bathtubs and two extra objects: elephants (Control condition), bathtubs (Overexhaustive condition), or alligators (Underexhaustive condition). Monolingual adults performed at ceiling in all conditions. Heritage language (HL) adults made 20% q-spreading errors, but only in the Overexhaustive condition, and when they made an error they spent more time looking at the two extra bathtubs during the Verb region. We attribute q-spreading in HL speakers to cognitive overload caused by the necessity to integrate conflicting sources of information, i.e. the spoken sentences in their weaker, heritage, language and attention-demanding visual context, that differed with respect to referential salience.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York
Grant or Contract Numbers: 0137851