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PROCESSING OF SCRAMBLED SENTENCES BY LEARNERS OF JAPANESE AS A SECOND LANGUAGE

Abstract

This study used a sentence correctness decision task to examine whether second language (L2) learners of Japanese might experience slowdowns and greater difficulty in comprehending sentences with the scrambled word order (OSV) as compared to those with the canonical SOV order. Twenty-four L2 learners of Japanese read simple monotransitive canonical and scrambled sentences displayed on a computer monitor and made decisions as to whether the sentences were correct or incorrect. The data indicated that, overall, scrambled sentences were responded to more slowly and elicited more errors in correctness decisions than canonical sentences. However, when reversible sentences (those with an animate subject and an animate object) and non-reversible sentences (those with an animate subject and an inanimate object) were analyzed separately, it was found that the scrambling effect was more robust in non-reversible sentences. Comparison of the present data with those in previous studies of native speakers (Chujo, 1983; Muraoka, Tamaoka, & Miyaoka, 2004) suggests that the L2 participants in the present study integrated animacy information in a manner similar to native speakers in the comprehension of scrambled sentences but that L2 learners might not use the information provided by case markers as consistently as native speakers.

How to Cite

Shigenaga, Y., (2012) “PROCESSING OF SCRAMBLED SENTENCES BY LEARNERS OF JAPANESE AS A SECOND LANGUAGE”, Journal of Second Language Acquisition and Teaching 19, p.79-103.

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Yasumasa Shigenaga (University of Arizona)

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

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This article has been peer reviewed.

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