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Title: Syntactic processing differences in first and second language : evidence from syntactic priming
Author: Elkhafif, Basma Mohammad Ashraf Ibrahim
ISNI:       0000 0004 8506 095X
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis examines differences in syntactic priming between first and second language speakers. A series of experiments are presented which investigate different factors that affect the occurrence of shared syntactic representation of a primed structure. Experiments 1 and 2 used syntactic priming as a method to isolate the syntactic level of representation from other contextual effects to examine its influence in auditory word identification. Participants performed a lexical decision task (LDT) and an auditory masked word identification task in which the target word was heard through noise. Critical words were embedded in sentences with either a complex or a simple syntactic structure, primed by either a congruent or incongruent preceding sentence. For both L1 and L2 speakers, trial-to-trial syntactic priming had no effect on word recognition. Experiments 3 and 4 investigated cross-modal syntactic priming from reading to listening and from listening to reading to examine whether the mechanisms underlying syntactic processing differ across the two modalities. The study employed an accumulative priming paradigm in which repeated exposure resulted in syntactic adaptation to an unfamiliar structure. Auditory and visual lexical decision tasks were used to assess priming in listening and reading respectively. L1 group showed evidence of shared syntactic representation cross-modally. However, L2 listening difficulties resulted in no priming in listening, and from listening to reading. Experiments 5 and 6 examined the occurrence of accumulative syntactic priming across different thematic roles for L1 and L2 speakers respectively. The study employed a self-paced reading task with an eye-tracking technique to examine reading of prepositional phrases with the same or different thematic roles. L2 participants were less able to show syntactic adaptation across different thematic roles, indicating that priming in L2 was less abstract than in L1. The theoretical significance and future directions are discussed.
Supervisor: Havelka, Jelena ; Weighall, Anna ; Burke, Melanie Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available