Native language effects in learning second-language grammatical gender: A training study
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SourceActa Psychologica, 135, 2, (2010), pp. 150-158
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ DCC CO
SubjectDI-BCB_DCC_Theme 1: Language and Communication; Psycholinguistics
We investigated cross-language influences in the representation and acquisition of Dutch word gender by native speakers of German. Participants named pictures in Dutch, using gender-marked noun phrases, and were trained on this task using feedback. Nouns differed in gender compatibility and cognate status with respect to German. The results show clear effects of cross-language gender compatibility and cognate status on response accuracy, certainty, and consistency. Feedback during training reduced gender errors approximately by half, and affected the different item conditions similarly. Furthermore, relative to the initial error rates, incorrect gender responses given with great certainty were not harder to modify than those with lower certainty. The results provide insights into the nature and stability of correct and incorrect gender representations in L2, and demonstrate the pervasiveness of transfer from the first to the second language even after intensive training.
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