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This study investigates the processing of sentences that contain locally ambiguous prepositional phrases (PP) in the VP-NP-PP construction, in which the PP can ambiguously be attached to either the VP or the NP. The subcategorization information of verbs was manipulated by using ditransitive verbs (two complements-DT), and transitive verbs (one complement-TR). While phrase-structure processing model predicts VP-attachment preference in both DT and TR constructions, lexical processing model predicts VP-attachment preference in DT, but NP-attachment preference in TR. L2-specific recency strategy predicts NP-attachment preference in both constructions. Self-paced reading time experiment with Korean learners of English showed that VP- attachment was preferred over NP-attachment in both constructions, but the difference was significant only in the DT construction, not in the TR construction. This suggests that L2 learners are generally influenced by the phrase-structure based parsing model, but they are not sensitive enough to the lexical constraints. No support for recency was observed. The prominent role of structural processing strategy by L2 learners for locally ambiguous syntactic structures is discussed.
This study examines the process of associating an English word with a concept by two proficiency groups of Korean (L1) learners of English (L2) in the framework of a well-known developmental model of the lexicon, the Revised Hierarchical Model (RHM) (Kroll & Stewart, 1994). The technique used in the present study in testing the RHM and its assumption regarding the structure of L2 lexicon was the false memory paradigm. False memory occurs when a learner recalls a word that was not presented in a list of words. Results from 104 Korean learners of English of recall test and recognition test using lists of words showed that individuals are more susceptible to false memories in their L1 than in their L2 and that more proficient L2 learners exhibit more false memories both in their L1 and in their L2 than do less proficient learners. The results of the recognition test were similar to those of recall test. The theoretical and pedagogical implications of these findings will be discussed in terms of L2 mental lexicon and vocabulary teaching and learning in the classroom.
This study investigates subject/object asymmetry in the processing of relative clauses in Korean. One way to account for the difference is the linear distance account, suggesting that object relatives (Orels) have more difficulty to process (Hawkins, 1989; Tarallo & Myhill, 1983). Another account is in terms of the depth-of-embedding of the gap (Hamilton, 1995; O'Grady, 1999). It indicates that Orels are more deeply embedded than subject relatives (Srels) structurally, causing more difficulty in processing. Both linear distance account and depth- of-embedding account generate the same prediction for English: Srels are easier than Orels. However, these accounts make a different prediction in Korean. In Korean, structurally less embedded subject gap is linearly further from the head noun, whereas linearly closer object gap is structurally more distant. Results from a self-paced sentence processing experiment indicate that Srels are easier than Orels in Korean, supporting the depth-of-embedding account over the linear distance account. The cross-linguistic differences in the asymmetric value of relative clauses in Korean, Japanese, Chinese, and English are discussed for alternative accounts.
This study compares how native Korean speakers and English learners of L2 Korean interpret null and overt subject pronouns in complex Korean sentences consisting of a main clause and a subordinate clause. It aims to examine the extent to which the mechanisms that underlie L2 processing differ from those in L1 processing and further to test whether increasing proficiency of L2 learners affects their preferences for antecedents. Two groups of English L1 learners of L2 Korean (20 beginners, and 16 advanced learners and 96 Korean native speakers participated in a questionnaire survey, which contained four conditions of anaphora (forward/backward anaphora (F/B); null/overt pronoun (N/O)). Results showed that in the forward anaphora with null pronoun (FN) condition, the three groups did not differ significantly in their choice of antecedents. In the FO and BO conditions, beginners were different from the advanced learners and native speakers. In the BN condition, both learner groups were different from the native speakers. This suggests that L1-L2 similarities can facilitate processing, whereas L1-L2 differences can cause processing difficulties for L2 learners. Finally, the behavior pattern of the advanced learners in the present study was generally similar to that of native speakers, but different in some conditions.
The current study examines reading and writing connections based on source texts in an EFL context and reveals that students’ cumulative reading experience enhances writing proficiency. Ten university students who were taking a reading course were asked to write essays on assigned topics related to the themes of the four novels they read in the class both before (pre-reading writing) and after reading (post-reading writing) each novel. Students’ writings were graded on vocabulary, content, grammar and organization. Results based on students’ writing scores indicated that the mean scores increased significantly on the post-reading writing compared to the pre-reading writing and that the students’ post-reading scores increased significantly as the number of novels read increased. However, cumulative reading effect was more prominent between post-reading writings than between pre-reading writings. It is concluded that reading experience can surely benefit writing proficiency, thus, that reading and writing activities should be integrated in an EFL setting.
. This study examines the relationship between TOEFL (iBT) scores and student academic achievement as measured by grade point average (GPA). The academic records were collected from 259 science and engineering major students who are taking EMI (English-Medium-Instruction) classes in their first semester at a university. A multiple linear regression analysis was calculated for gender, high school type, self-perceived validity of TOEFL test, self-perceived English proficiency, and TOEFL scores. Although gender and high school type showed a significant relationship with GPA, respectively, validity of the TOEFL test and self-perceived English proficiency did not. More importantly, the results refute the predictive validity of TOEFL scores, suggesting that TOEFL scores may not be a determining factor for academic success in EMI classes at a Korean university.