How multiple sources of experience influence bilingual syntactic choice: Immediate and cumulative cross-language effects of structural priming, verb bias, and language dominance
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SourceBilingualism. Language and Cognition, 19, 4, (2016), pp. 710-732
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Bilingualism. Language and Cognition
We investigated trial-by-trial and cumulative cross-language effects of structural priming and verb bias on L1 and L2 dative syntactic choices (e.g., ‘boy-give-ball-to-girl’ [PO structure] vs. ‘boy-give-girl-ball’ [DO structure]). Dutch-dominant Dutch–English bilinguals listened to a prime sentence with a DO or PO structure in one language and then described a picture in the other language, using verbs that varied in their bias towards the PO or DO structure in Dutch and English.We found effects of cross-language structural priming and verb bias on syntactic choice, some of which were influenced by the participants’ language dominance. In addition, we found cumulative forms of structural priming, leading to cross-language priming effects between experimental blocks. We discuss these results in terms of models on the representation of lexical and syntactic information in bilinguals, and point out how the observed effects can be related to experience-based mechanisms of language use and contact-induced language change.
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