Acquisition of L2 morphology by adult language learners

Lilli Kimppa, Yury Shtyrov, Suzanne C.A. Hut, Laura Hedlund, Miika Leminen, Alina Leminen

Research output

Abstract

Learning a new language requires the acquisition of morphological units that enable the fluent use of words in different grammatical contexts. While accumulating research has elucidated the neural processing of native morphology, much less is known about how second-language (L2) learners acquire and process morphology in their L2. To address this question, we presented native speakers as well as beginning and advanced learners of Finnish with spoken (1) derived words, (2) inflected words, (3) novel derivations (novel combinations of existing stem + suffix), and (4) pseudo-suffixed words (existing stem + pseudo-suffix) in a passive listening EEG experiment. An early (60 msec after suffix deviation point) positive ERP response showed no difference between inflections and derivations, suggesting similar early parsing of these complex words. At 130 msec, derivations elicited a lexical ERP pattern of full-form memory-trace activation, present in the L2 beginners and advanced speakers to different degrees, implying a shift from lexical processing to more dual parsing and lexical activation of the complex forms with increasing proficiency. Pseudo-suffixed words produced a syntactic pattern in a later, 170 240 msec time-window, exhibiting enhanced ERPs compared to well-formed inflections, indicating second-pass syntactic parsing. Overall, the L2 learners demonstrated a gradual effect of proficiency towards L1-like responses. Advanced L2 learners seem to have developed memory traces for derivations and their neurolinguistic system is capable of early automatic parsing. This suggests that advanced learners have already developed sensitivity to morphological information, while such knowledge is weak in beginners. Discrepancies in ERP dynamics and topographies indicate partially differing recruitment of the language network in L1 and L2. In beginners, response differences between existing and novel morphology were scarce, implying that representations for complex forms are not yet well-established. The results suggest successful development of brain mechanisms for automatic processing of L2 morphology, capable of gradually attaining L1-like functionality with increasing proficiency. (C) 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-90
JournalCortex
Volume116
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019
Event10th International Morphological Processing Conference (MoProc) - Trieste
Duration: 22 Jun 201724 Jun 2017

Cite this

Kimppa, L., Shtyrov, Y., Hut, S. C. A., Hedlund, L., Leminen, M., & Leminen, A. (2019). Acquisition of L2 morphology by adult language learners. Cortex, 116, 74-90. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2019.01.012
Kimppa, Lilli ; Shtyrov, Yury ; Hut, Suzanne C.A. ; Hedlund, Laura ; Leminen, Miika ; Leminen, Alina. / Acquisition of L2 morphology by adult language learners. In: Cortex. 2019 ; Vol. 116. pp. 74-90.
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Kimppa, L, Shtyrov, Y, Hut, SCA, Hedlund, L, Leminen, M & Leminen, A 2019, 'Acquisition of L2 morphology by adult language learners', Cortex, vol. 116, pp. 74-90. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2019.01.012

Acquisition of L2 morphology by adult language learners. / Kimppa, Lilli; Shtyrov, Yury; Hut, Suzanne C.A.; Hedlund, Laura; Leminen, Miika; Leminen, Alina.

In: Cortex, Vol. 116, 07.2019, p. 74-90.

Research output

TY - JOUR

T1 - Acquisition of L2 morphology by adult language learners

AU - Kimppa, Lilli

AU - Shtyrov, Yury

AU - Hut, Suzanne C.A.

AU - Hedlund, Laura

AU - Leminen, Miika

AU - Leminen, Alina

PY - 2019/7

Y1 - 2019/7

N2 - Learning a new language requires the acquisition of morphological units that enable the fluent use of words in different grammatical contexts. While accumulating research has elucidated the neural processing of native morphology, much less is known about how second-language (L2) learners acquire and process morphology in their L2. To address this question, we presented native speakers as well as beginning and advanced learners of Finnish with spoken (1) derived words, (2) inflected words, (3) novel derivations (novel combinations of existing stem + suffix), and (4) pseudo-suffixed words (existing stem + pseudo-suffix) in a passive listening EEG experiment. An early (60 msec after suffix deviation point) positive ERP response showed no difference between inflections and derivations, suggesting similar early parsing of these complex words. At 130 msec, derivations elicited a lexical ERP pattern of full-form memory-trace activation, present in the L2 beginners and advanced speakers to different degrees, implying a shift from lexical processing to more dual parsing and lexical activation of the complex forms with increasing proficiency. Pseudo-suffixed words produced a syntactic pattern in a later, 170 240 msec time-window, exhibiting enhanced ERPs compared to well-formed inflections, indicating second-pass syntactic parsing. Overall, the L2 learners demonstrated a gradual effect of proficiency towards L1-like responses. Advanced L2 learners seem to have developed memory traces for derivations and their neurolinguistic system is capable of early automatic parsing. This suggests that advanced learners have already developed sensitivity to morphological information, while such knowledge is weak in beginners. Discrepancies in ERP dynamics and topographies indicate partially differing recruitment of the language network in L1 and L2. In beginners, response differences between existing and novel morphology were scarce, implying that representations for complex forms are not yet well-established. The results suggest successful development of brain mechanisms for automatic processing of L2 morphology, capable of gradually attaining L1-like functionality with increasing proficiency. (C) 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

AB - Learning a new language requires the acquisition of morphological units that enable the fluent use of words in different grammatical contexts. While accumulating research has elucidated the neural processing of native morphology, much less is known about how second-language (L2) learners acquire and process morphology in their L2. To address this question, we presented native speakers as well as beginning and advanced learners of Finnish with spoken (1) derived words, (2) inflected words, (3) novel derivations (novel combinations of existing stem + suffix), and (4) pseudo-suffixed words (existing stem + pseudo-suffix) in a passive listening EEG experiment. An early (60 msec after suffix deviation point) positive ERP response showed no difference between inflections and derivations, suggesting similar early parsing of these complex words. At 130 msec, derivations elicited a lexical ERP pattern of full-form memory-trace activation, present in the L2 beginners and advanced speakers to different degrees, implying a shift from lexical processing to more dual parsing and lexical activation of the complex forms with increasing proficiency. Pseudo-suffixed words produced a syntactic pattern in a later, 170 240 msec time-window, exhibiting enhanced ERPs compared to well-formed inflections, indicating second-pass syntactic parsing. Overall, the L2 learners demonstrated a gradual effect of proficiency towards L1-like responses. Advanced L2 learners seem to have developed memory traces for derivations and their neurolinguistic system is capable of early automatic parsing. This suggests that advanced learners have already developed sensitivity to morphological information, while such knowledge is weak in beginners. Discrepancies in ERP dynamics and topographies indicate partially differing recruitment of the language network in L1 and L2. In beginners, response differences between existing and novel morphology were scarce, implying that representations for complex forms are not yet well-established. The results suggest successful development of brain mechanisms for automatic processing of L2 morphology, capable of gradually attaining L1-like functionality with increasing proficiency. (C) 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

KW - L2 acquisition

KW - Proficiency

KW - Morphology

KW - Inflection

KW - Derivation

KW - EEG

KW - MASKED PRIMING EXPERIMENTS

KW - FULL DECOMPOSITION MODEL

KW - NEUROPHYSIOLOGICAL EVIDENCE

KW - COMPLEX WORDS

KW - DERIVATIONAL MORPHOLOGY

KW - BRAIN POTENTIALS

KW - INDIVIDUAL-DIFFERENCES

KW - MISMATCH NEGATIVITY

KW - EARLY BILINGUALS

KW - NEURAL DYNAMICS

U2 - 10.1016/j.cortex.2019.01.012

DO - 10.1016/j.cortex.2019.01.012

M3 - статья

VL - 116

SP - 74

EP - 90

JO - Cortex

JF - Cortex

SN - 0010-9452

ER -