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Article

Syntactic and Semantic Influences on the Time Course of Relative Clause Processing: The Role of Language Dominance

1
Linguistics Department, Yale University, 370 Temple St, New Haven, CT 06511, USA
2
Linguistics Program, The Graduate Center, City University of New York, 365 Fifth Ave, New York, NY 10016, USA
3
Center for Advanced Research in Education, Institute of Education, Universidad de Chile, Periodista José Carrasco Tapia 75, Santiago de Chile 7550000, Chile
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Jason Rothman, Vincent DeLuca, Alicia Luque, Yanina Prystauka and Toms Voits
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(8), 989; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11080989
Received: 22 April 2021 / Revised: 20 July 2021 / Accepted: 23 July 2021 / Published: 27 July 2021
We conducted a visual world eye-tracking experiment with highly proficient Spanish-English bilingual adults to investigate the effects of relative language dominance, operationalized as a continuous, multidimensional variable, on the time course of relative clause processing in the first-learned language, Spanish. We found that participants exhibited two distinct processing preferences: a semantically driven preference to assign agency to referents of lexically animate noun phrases and a syntactically driven preference to interpret relative clauses as subject-extracted. Spanish dominance was found to exert a distinct influence on each of these preferences, gradiently attenuating the semantic preference while gradiently exaggerating the syntactic preference. While these results might be attributable to particular properties of Spanish and English, they also suggest a possible generalization that greater dominance in a language increases reliance on language-specific syntactic processing strategies while correspondingly decreasing reliance on more domain-general semantic processing strategies. View Full-Text
Keywords: language dominance; relative clause processing; bilingualism; individual differences; visual world paradigm; prediction; semantic processing; syntactic processing language dominance; relative clause processing; bilingualism; individual differences; visual world paradigm; prediction; semantic processing; syntactic processing
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MDPI and ACS Style

Stern, M.C.; Stover, L.; Guerra, E.; Martohardjono, G. Syntactic and Semantic Influences on the Time Course of Relative Clause Processing: The Role of Language Dominance. Brain Sci. 2021, 11, 989. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11080989

AMA Style

Stern MC, Stover L, Guerra E, Martohardjono G. Syntactic and Semantic Influences on the Time Course of Relative Clause Processing: The Role of Language Dominance. Brain Sciences. 2021; 11(8):989. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11080989

Chicago/Turabian Style

Stern, Michael C., LeeAnn Stover, Ernesto Guerra, and Gita Martohardjono. 2021. "Syntactic and Semantic Influences on the Time Course of Relative Clause Processing: The Role of Language Dominance" Brain Sciences 11, no. 8: 989. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11080989

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