Acquiring English dative verbs: proficiency effects in German L2 learners

Abstract

This paper investigates the influence of probabilistic information in the second language on the processing of English dative alternation constructions in German learners of English. We present two eye-tracking studies (visual world and reading) with evidence that the probabilistic patterns of the target language influence L2 processing when the initial preference is violated, and indications that these patterns have a greater effect on more experienced speakers. We also observed a constrast-effect of L1, such that comprehenders expected constructions that occur more often in L2 than in L1, even if L2 lexical statistics suggested otherwise.


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