21.3221, Diss: Psycholing: Siyanova: 'On-line Processing of Multi-word ...'

Mon Aug 9 18:56:21 UTC 2010

LINGUIST List: Vol-21-3221. Mon Aug 09 2010. ISSN: 1068 - 4875.

Subject: 21.3221, Diss: Psycholing: Siyanova: 'On-line Processing of Multi-word ...'

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Date: 09-Aug-2010
From: Anna Siyanova < anna.siyanova at unimore.it >
Subject: On-line Processing of Multi-word Sequences in a First and Second Language: Evidence from Eye-tracking and ERP

-------------------------Message 1 ---------------------------------- 
Date: Mon, 09 Aug 2010 14:55:02
From: Anna Siyanova [anna.siyanova at unimore.it]
Subject: On-line Processing of Multi-word Sequences in a First and Second Language: Evidence from Eye-tracking and ERP

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Institution: University of Nottingham 
Program: School of English Studies 
Dissertation Status: Completed 
Degree Date: 2010 

Author: Anna Siyanova

Dissertation Title: On-line Processing of Multi-word Sequences in a First and
Second Language: Evidence from Eye-tracking and ERP 

Linguistic Field(s): Psycholinguistics

Dissertation Director(s):
Norbert Schmitt
Walter van Heuven
Kathy Conklin

Dissertation Abstract:

A view that has been gaining popularity is that humans are sensitive to
frequency information at different levels, and that this information
affects the processing of linguistic material, subsequently shaping our
mental representations. Frequency effects have been reported extensively in
word processing literature, but only a small number of studies have
investigated frequency effects in units larger than a word. The question
that the present thesis strives to answer is: Do units above the word
level, both fully compositional and less so, exhibit frequency effects? In
Study 1, using an eye-tracking paradigm, I investigate the comprehension of
idioms used figuratively (at the end of the day - 'eventually'), literally
(at the end of the day - 'in the evening'), as well as novel phrases (at
the end of the war) in a first and second language. In Study 2, which also
uses eye-tracking, native and nonnative processing of frequent binomial
expressions, such as bride and groom, is compared to their infrequent
reversed forms, such as groom and bride. Finally, three ERP experiments,
which form Study 3, further investigate on-line processing of frequent
binomial expressions versus novel phrases in a first language. The results
of the studies point to the following. Frequent phrases are processed
faster than novel ones by native speakers. Nonnative speakers, on the other
hand, appear to have a 'lexicon in transition', that is, their processing
starts to approximate that of natives only with respect to very high
frequency items. Overall, the processing of frequent multi-word sequences
in a second language is more sequential than that in a first language (this
is particularly the case with idioms). The processing advantage for
binomials observed in the ERP study with native speakers also suggests that
different neural correlates underlie the processing of familiar phrases
when compared to novel ones. On the whole, the findings reported in the
thesis suggest that the units that language users attend to are not limited
to single words, but extend to multi-word sequences as well. 

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