The Online and offline processing of this, that and it by native speakers of English and by Turkish non-native speakers of English

Çokal, Derya
This thesis explores the online processing of this, it and that in English and compares the processing strategies of Turkish non-native speakers (NNSs) with those of native speakers of English (NSs) by running three independent groups of online reading and norming experiments. The first group of eye-tracking experiments, together with Turkish and English corpus studies, test the deictic access of this and that to the left and right frontiers. The results for the NSs indicated that (1) with both this and that there is a preference for events on the right frontier as antecedents; and (2) the reliance of existing theories of textual deixis on an analogy with spatial deixis in spoken discourse may be flawed. However, NNSs were shown to employ a strategy of analogy with spatial deixis in processing textual deixis. The second group of experiments tested the antecedent preferences of it, this and that. In online reading, NSs did not show strong preferences, whereas NNSs performed form-function mappings. The third group of experiments tested the role of noun phrase statuses in the antecedent preferences of this and it. In contrast, NSs and NNSs had the same preferences but used different processing strategies. The findings of NNSs could be explained with respect to the interface hypothesis and residual indeterminacy at the level of discourse, with a distinction between prescriptive and descriptive rules, and in terms of competition between implicit and explicit knowledges. Finally, a sliding scale ranging from the uninterpretable to the most interpretable features was introduced to explain differences in the processing involved in reading and writing.


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Citation Formats
D. Çokal, “The Online and offline processing of this, that and it by native speakers of English and by Turkish non-native speakers of English,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2012.