Processing of conditional constructions in Turkish l2 speakers of English

Evcen, Ebru
This thesis aims to examine whether Turkish L2 learners of English process conditional constructions in an incremental and/or predictive manner. An offline grammaticality judgment (GJT) task was devised to test L2 learners’ sensitivity to grammatical violations and an online self-paced reading (SPR) task was designed to find out whether processing patterns of L2 learners would match existing L2 processing accounts. We manipulated the Connector Type (unless, unless…not, if…not) and Context Type (congruent, incongruent) as within-subjects and proficiency level (advanced, intermediate) as between-subjects factors. Results from the offline task revealed that Turkish L2 speakers were able to detect ungrammaticalities due to double negations (as in unless…not), and thus have a correct representation of unless. On the other hand, results from the SPR task showed that regardless of their proficiency levels, Turkish v L2 speakers failed to detect syntactic anomalies during online processing, and in fact, they tended to expect an overt negation following unless. In a similar vein, L2 speakers were able to integrate the context in their interpretation only in unless…not and if…not conditions (i.e., conditions in which their structural expectations are met). As for unless (i.e., grammatical but not expected), the integration of the contextual information was either delayed or prevented. To account for the findings in terms of L2 processing mechanisms, overall, we propose that on condition that L2 speakers’ structural expectations are fulfilled, the integration of higher-level sources such as discourse and pragmatics can be achieved. Crucially, the pattern was the same in native speakers. The observed pattern is discussed in terms of existing L2 processing accounts.


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Citation Formats
E. Evcen, “Processing of conditional constructions in Turkish l2 speakers of English,” Thesis (M.S.) -- Graduate School of Social Sciences. English Language Teaching., Middle East Technical University, 2019.