Tuning to Multiple Statistics: Second Language Processing of Multiword Sequences Across Registers

AbstractA substantial body of research has demonstrated that children and adults (both native and non-native speakers) are sensitive to the statistics of multiword sequences (MWS) and rely on knowledge of such statistics to facilitate their language processing and boost their acquisition. However, this research was primarily aimed at determining whether and to what extent speakers can develop sensitivity to MWS statistics of a single type of linguistic input: that of spoken language. Recently, there has been a growing awareness of the key role of written input in the development of linguistic knowledge, as it provides a source of substantial change in the statistics of an individual’s language experience. The present study reports on a series of experiments designed to determine whether second language learners of English are able to develop sensitivity to distributional statistics of MWS inherent in different (register-specific) input types.

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