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ERIC Number: EJ937981
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 3
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0142-7164
How Language Learners Comprehend and Produce Language in Real Time
Libben, Gary
Applied Psycholinguistics, v27 n1 p72-74 2006
This paper does a fine job of advancing discussion concerning a question that is indeed quite underrepresented in the literature, that is, how language learners comprehend and produce language in real time. The paper is firmly rooted in the dual mechanism approach to language processing and takes as its starting point the assumption that normal adult processing is characterized by two systems, one that is lexically based and one that is essentially combinatorial. The authors cite evidence that both first language (L1) learners and adult native speakers show evidence of dual mechanism processing and that, in particular, children's sentence processing shows early reliance on structure-based interpretation and less ability to employ lexical/pragmatic information in the resolution of language ambiguity. One way to view this preference is that L1 learners might know, broadly speaking, considerably more about their language than they do about the world in which they live. Adult second language (L2) learners might be said to be in exactly the opposite situation. It is therefore hardly surprising that adult L2 speakers rely strongly on lexical/pragmatic cues in sentence processing. In the early stages of adult L2 acquisition, the demands of real-time processing make use of such nonsyntactic inference crucial. The question that strikes me as key is whether, as L2 speakers become more proficient, they are weaned from this reliance such that their processing reflects the interaction between syntactic and lexical processing that is characteristic of adult native speakers. When and if they do, we could say that their L2 processing is, both internally and externally, nativelike.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A