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Visual attention and quantifier-spreading in heritage Russian bilinguals

  • It is well established in language acquisition research that monolingual children and adult second language learners misinterpret sentences with the universal quantifier every and make quantifier-spreading errors that are attributed to a preference for a match in number between two sets of objects. The present Visual World eye-tracking study tested bilingual heritage Russian-English adults and investigated how they interpret of sentences like Every alligator lies in a bathtub in both languages. Participants performed a sentence-picture verification task while their eye movements were recorded. Pictures showed three pairs of alligators in bathtubs and two extra objects: elephants (Control condition), bathtubs (Overexhaustive condition), or alligators (Underexhaustive condition). Monolingual adults performed at ceiling in all conditions. Heritage language (HL) adults made 20% q-spreading errors, but only in the Overexhaustive condition, and when they made an error they spent more time looking at the two extra bathtubs during the VerbIt is well established in language acquisition research that monolingual children and adult second language learners misinterpret sentences with the universal quantifier every and make quantifier-spreading errors that are attributed to a preference for a match in number between two sets of objects. The present Visual World eye-tracking study tested bilingual heritage Russian-English adults and investigated how they interpret of sentences like Every alligator lies in a bathtub in both languages. Participants performed a sentence-picture verification task while their eye movements were recorded. Pictures showed three pairs of alligators in bathtubs and two extra objects: elephants (Control condition), bathtubs (Overexhaustive condition), or alligators (Underexhaustive condition). Monolingual adults performed at ceiling in all conditions. Heritage language (HL) adults made 20% q-spreading errors, but only in the Overexhaustive condition, and when they made an error they spent more time looking at the two extra bathtubs during the Verb region. We attribute q-spreading in HL speakers to cognitive overload caused by the necessity to integrate conflicting sources of information, i.e. the spoken sentences in their weaker, heritage, language and attention-demanding visual context, that differed with respect to referential salience.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author:Irina A. Sekerina, Antje Sauermann
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/0267658314537292
ISSN:0267-6583 (print)
ISSN:1477-0326 (online)
Parent Title (English):Second language research
Publisher:Sage Publ.
Place of publication:London
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Year of first Publication:2015
Year of Completion:2015
Release Date:2017/03/27
Tag:Russian; eye-tracking; heritage language; quantifier-spreading; universal quantifiers; visual attention
Volume:31
Issue:1
Pagenumber:30
First Page:75
Last Page:104
Organizational units:Humanwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Linguistik / Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft
Peer Review:Referiert
Notes extern:Zweitveröffentlichung in der Schriftenreihe Postprints der Universität Potsdam : Humanwissenschaftliche Reihe ; 404