Gender in the Nominal Domain: Evidence From Bilingualism and Eye-Tracking
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CitationFuchs, Zuzanna. 2019. Gender in the Nominal Domain: Evidence From Bilingualism and Eye-Tracking. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractThis dissertation presents two eye-tracking studies, with the goal of investigating heritage speakers' ability to use gender agreement within the nominal domain to facilitate lexical retrieval. Heritage speakers' non-target-like production and comprehension of grammatical gender is well documented, and given these findings, the studies discussed here seek to determine whether and how heritage speakers can deploy gender as it is instantiated in their grammar.
In a Visual World Paradigm context, both control and heritage speakers of Spanish were both able to fixate on target items faster in mismatch conditions, in which the gender on a prenominal definite article was sufficient to disambiguate between the candidate items. The results for the controls replicate the findings of Lew-Williams & Fernald (2007, 2010) and Gruter et al. (2012), while the heritage results provide novel evidence that heritage speakers deploy gender information in online tasks in a monolingual-like manner. Control and heritage speakers of Polish performed the same task, but with gender inflection on a prenominal adjective serving as the critical cue. Again, heritage speakers matched control speakers in their ability to use gender to facilitate lexical retrieval. Additionally, asymmetrical interference between masculine and neuter gender suggests a hierarchical analysis of Polish gender. The Polish heritage speakers matched the controls not only in manner of using gender but also in speed; contrasted with a slight slowdown of the Spanish heritage speakers as compared to the Spanish controls, these findings motivate further study of the difference between accessing determiners and modifiers in online processing of agreement in the nominal domain.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:42029638
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