The Effects of Study Abroad and Working Memory on Processing Subject-verb (Dis)Agreement

Document Type

Grant Proposal

Date Accepted

Summer 2012

Project Description/Abstract

Past research has shown that native Spanish speakers prefer to process morphological cues (e.g., the ending –ed in ‘walked’), and that native English speakers prefer lexical ones, (i.e., ‘yesterday’) when both are present. The current research expanded on these findings and examined whether processing different redundant cues (i.e., subjects and verbs) obtained similar results for second language (L2) learners. In addition, it considered the effects of working memory and study abroad on processing. The eye movements of 25 students with a study abroad experience and 22 without were recorded as they read experimental sentences. They also performed a test of working memory. The results revealed that learners with a study abroad experience relied more on the verb and less on the subject; whereas those learners without an immersion experience continued to rely on the subject. Results from the working memory data revealed that it did not affect L2 cue selection.

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