Structural competition in second language production: towards a constraint-satisfaction model

Austin, Gavin and Pongpairoj, Nattama and Trenkic, Danijela (2015) Structural competition in second language production: towards a constraint-satisfaction model. Language Learning, 65 (3). pp. 689-722. ISSN 0023-8333


Second language (L2) learners often show inconsistent production of some aspects of L2 grammar. One view, primarily based on data from L2 article production, suggests that grammatical patterns licensed by learners’ native language (L1) and those licensed by their L2 compete for selection, leading to variability in the production of L2 functional morphology. In this study, we show that the idea of structural competition has broader applicability, in correctly predicting certain asymmetries in the production of both the definite article the and plural marking –s by Thai learners of English. At the same time, we recognize that learners’ growing sensitivity to structural regularities in the L2 might be an additional contributing factor, and therefore make a novel proposal for how the L1–L2 structural competition model and the sensitivity-to-L2-structural regularities account could be integrated and their respective contributions studied under the constraint-satisfaction model of language processing. We argue that this approach is particularly suited to studying bilingual processing as it provides a natural framework for explaining how highly disparate factors, including partially activated options from both languages, interact during processing.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to paper in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Linguistics, Adult and Specialist Education
Date Deposited: 02 Feb 2016 01:39
Last Modified: 31 May 2016 01:48
Uncontrolled Keywords: L2 functional morphology; production; articles; plural; structural competition; cross-linguistic influences
Fields of Research : 20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2004 Linguistics > 200499 Linguistics not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1111/lang.12108

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