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Filler-Gap Parsing in Wh-movement: An ERP Study of Chinese Learners of English

Time:2017-11-30 15:29:36


Title:Filler-Gap Parsing in Wh-movement: An ERP Study of Chinese Learners of English

Speaker:Nanjing Normal University, Professor Zhang Hui 

Time:2017.11.30 1:30-2:30 pm

Place:Wen Nan Building 116



Shallow Structure Hypothesis (SSH) claims that L2 and L1 speakers are fundamentally different in parsing syntactically complex sentences and that L2 speakers mainly depend on semantic information (Clahsen & Felser, 2006). This study intends to confirm the validity of these claims since results from previous studies are controversial (Marinis et. al., 2005; Pliatsikas & Marinis, 2012; Dussias, 2013). By using Event-Related Potentials (ERP) technique which measures electric brain activities, the study investigated SSH through unbounded filler-gap dependency sentences. While syntactic incongruousness elicited a syntactic-parsing related ERP component (P600) in L1, L2 had a semantic-parsing related component (Sustained Negativity) caused by semantic implausibility. These results demonstrate L1 and L2 speakers have different ways of parsing complex syntactic structures. L1s mainly rely on abstract syntactic structure while L2s mainly apply semantic information during the processing.


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