Title: SYNTACTIC PRIMING OF RELATIVE CLAUSE ATTACHMENT IN MONOLINGUAL TURKISH SPEAKERS AND TURKISH LEARNERS OF ENGLISH
PhD Candidate: Zeynep Başer
Program: Cognitive Science Department
Date: 24 April Tuesday 10:00
Place: Conference Hall-01
Abstract: The purpose of this study is to investigate the syntactic priming of relative clause attachment in monolingual Turkish speakers and Turkish learners of English with different levels of proficiency in English. Syntactic priming is the facilitation of processing which occurs when a sentence has the same syntactic form as a preceding one. Within the last three decades, a manifold of studies have investigated the phenomenon, especially with native speakers of various languages, yet there is a quite low number of research with monolingual Turkish speakers and Turkish learners of English.Turkish and English belong to typologically different groups of languages. Within the scope of this study, we investigate syntactic priming of relative clause attachments, which enables us to examine and compare the strategies employed for ambiguity resolution both in Turkish and English. The data was collected through offline (pen-and-paper), online (self-paced reading), and eye-tracking studies. The analysis of the data revealed important findings about the parsing strategies employed by both monolingual Turkish speakers and Turkish learners of English. The role of several confounding factors on RC attachment preferences was identified, such as the role of (i) animacy / inanimacy information embedded in the host NPs, (ii) semantic relations between the host NPs, (iii) the semantic associations of the host NPs with the proximal and the distal predicate, and (iv) active / passive RC condition. Furthermore, the relation between working memory capacity and RC attachment preferences was analysed. Besides, effects of methodological issues, such as the presentation mode (i.e. full sentence or phrase-by-phrase), techniques (i.e. offline, online, or eye-tracking), task requirements (i.e. implicit processing or directed assessment of the syntactic structure in the prime) and modality(comprehension or production) were compared.