Mechanisms and strategies in the processing and acquisition of relative clauses in Turkish monolingual and Turkish-English bilingual children

Özge, Duygu
The study combines offline techniques with online reaction-time experiments, for the first time in testing monolingual Turkish children, in order to compare the mechanisms and strategies employed by adults and children of a head-final language with rich inflection and variable word order. In addition, the study presents two off-line experiments investigating the comprehension and production strategies employed by Turkish-English bilingual children and Turkish monolingual children at the ages of 5-8. A series of experiments in this study confirmed that the subject-object asymmetry that has been reported in several other languages, as well as in Turkish, has also been observed in Turkish speaking monolingual and bilingual children in terms of their comprehension and production of Turkish relative clauses. In all of the experiments, both monolingual and bilingual children showed a better performance in subject RCs compared to object RCs. Moreover, the monolingual children presented a very similar pattern to adults in some of the experiments, which was taken to indicate that the subject-object asymmetry cannot be caused by a single factor but rather it arises as a combination of multiple factors such as ambiguity concerning the function of a lexical or morphological item, ease of local attachment to a verb (a la Gibson, 1998), deviation from the canonical word order, frequency, and perceptual factors, among others. While investigating the underlying causes of this asymmetry, the study also focused on some of the hypotheses offered to account for the strategies used in sentence processing, such as the Filler-Gap Hypotheses (Maratsos, 1974; Wanner & Maratsos, 1974; Fodor, 1978; Clifton & Frazier, 1989; Frazier, Flores d’Arcais & Giovanni, 1989; O’Grady, 1997; among others), the Parallel Function Hypothesis (Sheldon, 1974), and the Canonical Word Order Strategy (Bever, 1970), and showed that none of these hypotheses can fully account for the processing facts from Turkish relative clauses. The study argues that the present findings could be best accounted for in a constrained- based, lexicalist, and incremental framework. Two such accounts were discussed in the thesis. One is Steedman’s (1989, 2000) model of a processor with a highly lexicalized grammar, a bottom-up parsing algorithm, a mechanism that evaluates multiple sources of information in line with the parsing model of a specific language. The other is a processing model by Vasishth and Kruijff (2001) that uses a highly lexicalized grammar, a combination of a top-down and a bottom-up algorithm, and a complexity metric inspired by Gibson (1998) and Hale (2001).


The use of verbal morphology in Turkish as a third language: The case of Russian-English-Turkish trilinguals
Antonova-Unlu, Elena; Sağın Şimşek, Sultan Çiğdem (SAGE Publications, 2015-06-01)
Aims and Objectives: Several studies suggest that third language acquisition (TLA) is marked with complex patterns of language interaction. However, it is not clear yet to what extent multilinguals activate each of their background languages in TLA, as various factors may trigger the activation of one of the previously learnt languages. This study aims to contribute to the discussion by examining the use of verbal morphology in third language (L3) Turkish of Russian-English-Turkish trilinguals. We investiga...
Experiences of International Language Teachers at a Turkish University
Kahraman, Hasibe; Pıpes, Ashleıgh Carter (Cambridge University Press (CUP), 2018-09-01)
Using a multiple case study approach, this short research article describes the experiences of three teachers (of German, French, and Korean) in a Turkish university where English is also mandatorily taught. Three themes common to the participants' experiences emerged: use of the Turkish language, integrative adaptability, and international self-awareness. We suggest that understanding these themes may help teachers, students, and administrators better understand the rich and potentially unique fonts of kno...
An investigation of incidental vocabulary acquisition in relation to learner proficiency level and word frequency
Tekmen, E. Anne Ferrell; Daloğlu, Ayşegül (Wiley, 2006-06-01)
This study examined the relationship between learners' incidental vocabulary acquisition and their level of proficiency, and between acquisition and word frequency in a text. Participants were Turkish learners of English at three proficiency levels. One reading text and four vocabulary tests were administered over a two-week period. Analyses of the data revealed that lexical gains from reading were significant for each group (p < .05). The higher proficiency groups were able to acquire more words than lower...
The effects of synchronous computer mediated communication (SCMC) on English language learners' oral proficiency development
Seferoğlu, Gölge (2007-12-16)
This study allowed pairs of English language learners, a class in Turkey and a class in Spain, to have synchronous audio communication over the Internet. One component of the study had a quasi-experimental research design with two English oral communication classes in Turkey. The class who received CMC integrated instruction formed the experimental group and the class who followed regular English oral communication instruction constituted the control group. Oral proficiencies of the learners were measured a...
Language learning from the perspective of nonlinear dynamic systems
Hohenberger, Annette Edeltraud; Peltzer-Karpf, Annemarie (Walter de Gruyter GmbH, 2009-01-01)
This article outlines a nonlinear dynamic systems approach to language learning on the basis of developmental cognitive neuroscience. Language learning, on this view, is a process of experience-dependent shaping and selection of broadly defined domain-general and domain-specific genetic predispositions. The central concept of development is (neuro) cognitive,e growth in terms of self-organization. Linguistic structure-building is synergetic and emergent insofar as the acquisition of a critical mass of eleme...
Citation Formats
D. Özge, “Mechanisms and strategies in the processing and acquisition of relative clauses in Turkish monolingual and Turkish-English bilingual children,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2010.