Syntactic Priming of Datives in Second Language Speakers of English

Material Information

Syntactic Priming of Datives in Second Language Speakers of English
Molina, Jose A.
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
English language learners ( jstor )
Grammatical constructions ( jstor )
Language comprehension ( jstor )
Native languages ( jstor )
Nonnative languages ( jstor )
Sentence structure ( jstor )
Sentences ( jstor )
Syntactics ( jstor )
Verbs ( jstor )
Words ( jstor )
English language--Syntax
Grammar, Comparative and general--Syntax
Undergraduate Honors Thesis


Syntactic priming, or eliciting responses in certain grammatical structures from speakers of a particular language, has been well-tested in native speakers of English, but little has been done with reference to nonnative speakers. This study addresses this through research on syntactic priming of the dative structures in nonnative speakers of English from various language backgrounds. Eight verbs were chosen for their specific bias towards either of the two dative constructions and a sentence completion task was constructed which involved showing the participants a full sentence using one of the verbs in one of the two constructions and then having them complete a sentence given only a fragment that include one of the other seven verbs. Several participants from the University of Florida were asked to perform in this task by filling out a handout with these sentence-fragment pairs. The results indicated that syntactic priming in nonnative speakers was verb and verb-bias specific and not based on the primes of previously shown sentences involving these constructions. This is a very different effect from that on native speakers of English and even from that on more homogeneous groups of nonnative speakers from previous studies. ( en )
General Note:
Awarded Bachelor of Arts; Graduated May 6, 2014 summa cum laude. Major: Linguistics
General Note:
College/School: College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
General Note:
Legacy honors title: Only abstract available from former Honors Program sponsored database.
General Note:
UF Honors Program sponosored database

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
Copyright Jose M4. Permission granted to the University of Florida to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permiss

Full Text


Running head: SYNTACTIC PRIMING OF DATIVES IN L2 SPEAKERS OF ENGLISH 1 Syntactic Priming of Datives in Second Language Speakers of English Jos A. Molina University of Florida


SYNTACTIC PRIMING OF DATIVES IN L2 SPEAKERS OF ENGLISH 2 1. Introduction The basic fundamental principle that this experiment attempts to test in second language learners of English is syntactic priming. Priming is the concept that states that a speaker is more likely to use a specific linguistic item, such as a specific word or grammat ical structure, if (s)he has been expos ed to it recently than if (s)he has not. Syntactic (or structural) priming, then, refers specifically to the type of priming that deals with grammatical structures Priming happens all the time when people are exposed to a word or phrase in any situation. One often finds him/herself using this word or phrase afterwards more so than (s)he would have, had (s)he not heard it. This is particularly important to note of syntactic priming, as it indicates that structures have representations in the mind in and of themselves and can therefore be primed for. There are many constructions that can be tested for syntactic priming, but by far the most commonly examined is the dative construction. The alternation between the double object dative, or DO dative, and the prepositional object dative, or PO dative, is simple and commonly used. A double object (DO) dative is a dative construction where the verb is followed by two objects, an indirect object, or the recipient of the action, and a direct object, or the object dative. The prepositional object (PO) dative, on the ot her hand, has only the patient as an object of the verb and the recipient as an object of a preposition. This preposition can be one of many, but is to dative but o ther verbs are commonly followed by other prepositions for their PO dative


SYNTACTIC PRIMING OF DATIVES IN L2 SPEAKERS OF ENGLISH 3 construction. Another common PO dative is a for dative Syntactic priming involves the frequency of production of a structure after a person has had exposure to it relative to having not had exposure. It does not, however, measure the frequency of a structure relative to the alternative structure after ex posure to either. In other words, it measure s each individual structure against itself with and without previous exposure to it, rather than competing structur es against each other after exposure to each of the two. This is illustrated in the following table concerning the dative responses (McDonough 2009 :100 ): Table 1 Dative responses by prime Prime Responses Prepositional dative Double object dative Prepositional dative 400 563 Double object dative 272 705 Total 672 1268 statement in which that structure was meant to be elicited. The table shows that, although more double object datives, or DO dative s were produced after DO datives than prepositional datives or PO dative s even after a PO dative prime, the important relation is that more PO datives were produced after a PO dative prime than after a DO dative prime.


SYNTACTIC PRIMING OF DATIVES IN L2 SPEAKERS OF ENGLISH 4 2. Review of Previous Literature 2 .1 L1 Dative Priming Many syntactic priming studies have focused on the dative construction and elucidated language, or L1. Some of the more famous tasks used in dative syntactic priming studies i nclude, among others, target picture description tasks and sentence complet ion tasks. This study dealt with the latter. Sentence completion task studies have the participant read (or hear, in oral studies) a complete sentence prime (or as in Branigan et al. 2006 a fragment with only one of the constituents of the dative structur e), followed by a fragment containing a subject and verb that must be completed by the participant. The following is an example of a sentence completion question from the present study: Example 1.1 (See Appendix C for others) Prime: Henry passed a coat to Kayla. Target: Michelle gave ________________________________________. Bock ( 1986 ) was the earliest study to involve the picture description tasks and test for priming effects This task involved showing a participant a prime, foll owed by a picture that indicated a specific action that could be described using a dative construction. Bock (1989) showed that syntactic priming occurred independently of the type of function word used in the prime or required by the target. In other words, even if the PO dativ e in the prime contain ed a


SYNTACTIC PRIMING OF DATIVES IN L2 SPEAKERS OF ENGLISH 5 for dative, and the target sentence requ ired a to dative as the PO dative, the structure was primed for all the same. Melinger (2005) was another type of picture description task study that dealt with using individual words to p rime for a target structure in the picture that followed instead of a full sentence. The words chosen were non alternating dative verbs or verbs that specifically take only one type of dative construction and never the other, thus strongly priming for that v erb and can therefore only be used in DO constructions and never PO ones. Example 1.2 The judge fined the driver fifty dollars. *The judge fined fifty dollars to the driver This study showed each of the participants these structure specific words only, not in a sentence or followed by any construction followed by a picture that the participant then had to describe using a dative construction. The single word was usually enough to prime which dative structure was used to describe the following picture, proving that a single word is enough to prime a sp ecific structure depending on the struct ural association that word has. This thus indicated that syntactic primin g is at least in part lexically driven. Arai et al. (2007) was a study that used eye tracking methods to show that priming in comprehension occurred like in production. This was done by letting the participant hear an utterance with a verb followed by a dative structure as they stared at a picture. The


SYNTACTIC PRIMING OF DATIVES IN L2 SPEAKERS OF ENGLISH 6 eyes were tracked during the prime and the target sentence to see where their eyes would go on the picture after the verb of the target. If their eyes gazed at the recipient first, it was marked a DO response. If they gazed at the direct object first, it w as marked a PO response. Following the results of Pickering & Branigan (1998) that priming wa s stronger (in production in sentence task completion in this case) if the verb in the prime wa s the same as that in the target, Arai et al. ed two experiments, the first using the same verb in the prime and target and the second using two different verbs in each. Pickering and in part in comprehension priming in Luka & a study that showed that target sentences were considered more acceptable to speakers if they were preceded by a sentence containing the same structure rather than one with a different structure. Arai et al. found that gazes, or series of multiple fixat ions on a target, were longer on the intended object after the given prime, i.e. it showed that predictions of the structure being used and the anticipation of the coming constituent could be primed for in comprehension. This was true of the first experime nt, where the verbs where the same, but not so of the second one, showing that, at least in comprehension, priming is much weaker, and essentially non existent, with different verb primes. The fact that the strength of the observed priming effects was a fu nction of the degree of association between a verb and DO/PO datives confirmed that as in production, syntactic priming in comprehension is also in part, lexically dependent. Bernolet (2010) investigated this verb dependent nature of priming even further. His study indicated that l ess frequent s tructures cause stronger primes and that, in unprimed conditions, the structure preference is determined by the target verb The study showed that


SYNTACTIC PRIMING OF DATIVES IN L2 SPEAKERS OF ENGLISH 7 verb s used in their less common structure would cause a stronger priming effect than if used in their more common structure: Interestingly, the effect of DO priming was inversely correlated with target alternation bias: the strongest effect of DO priming was observed for target verbs with the strongest bias towards the alternative syntactic structure, the PO dative. Most importantly, the strength of DO priming was also inversely correlated with the alternation bias of the prime verb: the strongest effect of DO priming was exerted by primes with the strongest bias towards the PO dative and the effect linearly decreased as the bias of the prime verbs shifted towards the DO dative (Bernolet 2010: 458 ) Many recent studies have also shown that the prime could persi st even after a delay. Br anigan et al. (1999 ) stated that, in written sentence completion tasks, priming only occurred when there was no intervening material between the prime and target fragment. However, Branigan et al. ( 2000 ) showed that in oral tasks, the effects of priming could persist through a temporal delay or after intervening material. Bock et al. (2007) showed that this was the case in target picture description tasks as well. Most recently, Kaschak (2010) showed that these priming effects could last much longer than previously believed. The study showed that cumulative priming has long lasting effects that can remain even after a week has passed sinc e the prime. This indicated that syntactic priming is part of implicit, or procedural, memory. Branigan (2006) study was a sentence completion task involving only a fragment in the prime. The fragment contained only one of the two


SYNTACTIC PRIMING OF DATIVES IN L2 SPEAKERS OF ENGLISH 8 constituents of the dative structure. In other words, it contained the subject and verb w ith either only the direct object constituent priming for a PO dative, or on ly the recipient constituent priming for the DO dative. Example 1.3 These were also modified either by the addition of a subordinate clause to the thes e alterations, but not necessarily in the same experiment in which the prime underwent them. Branigan, Pickering, McLean & Stewart (2006) showed that s yntactic priming is specific to local structure and not to global structure and can happen from a fragm ent to another that vary significantly in global structure In other words, the subordination of the prime and the subordinate clause added to the prime did not affect the results even when the target fragment was not used in the same structure. The only r elevant syntactical information for the prime and the target was the local fragment itself only. 2 .2 Literature on L2 Dative Priming There is a growing number of studies that move away from the idea of disparate modules for grammatical and lexical properties of language and to wards a continuum of


SYNTACTIC PRIMING OF DATIVES IN L2 SPEAKERS OF ENGLISH 9 Constructio n Grammar. Construction Grammar refers to various models of structures in a person m mind through consistent e xposure to them. Although it is not as easy to see mental representations of sentence constructions as it is for lexical items, a lot of work has hinted in this direction. Most of this work involves priming and is done with native speakers in a given langu age (mostly English), while relatively few do the sa me but with non native speakers Gries & Wulff (2005) is one of a few studies that dealt with dative priming in L2 speakers of English, i.e. those who have l earned it as a second language. The stud y focu sed on the priming effects of argument structure related tasks of German foreign language learners of English. The participants had to complete sentences given a verb and following noun phrase that would be interpreted as a recipient or a patient and would likely finish it off with a ditransitive or prepositional dative construction. The results indicated that there was a strong correlation between the primed/desired outcome and what the participants chose showing that German speaker s of English exhibited similar priming patterns as native speakers and likely had similar mental representation s of the relevant constructions. This could not be due to language similarity because German verb translations were shown to exhibit different argument structure prefer ences than the English counterparts. sought to show how verbs and sentences containing them a re grouped based on the constructions associated with them. The participants were given cards with four different ve rbs used in a sentence in four different constructions for a total of sixteen cards. Rather than focusing on a simple verb based sorting, the participants tended to sort the cards based on their semantics and therefore by the


SYNTACTIC PRIMING OF DATIVES IN L2 SPEAKERS OF ENGLISH 10 grammatical constructions used in the cards with the given verbs. This showed an emphasis in ordering and grouping in the mind based on semantics and on argument structure constructions rather than the lexical items present. The results of the study show ed a behavior in the German spe akers that was in accord with the hypothesis that advanced German learners of English have mental representations of constructions much like native speakers do particularly with regard to the following: 1) the priming effects of syntactic patterns were similar to those of native speakers of English (cf. previous priming studies); 2) the general verb subcategorization preference and the correlated verb specificity of the priming effects were both incompatible with the alternative account that the German l earners were simply transferring their preferences from their L1 ; and 3) the German learners showed sensitivity to constructional semantics in the sorting experiment The experiment showed that argument structures play a huge role in interpretation and su ggests that speakers, native as well as nonnative speakers, ha ve a mental representation of constructions that is accessed when they creat e sentences and that can be primed for. Since then a few other studies have also looked at English as a second langu age in priming studies involving sentence completion task s Salamoura & Williams (2006) and Salamoura & Williams (2007) both deal t with cross linguistic syntactic priming of datives in L2 English speakers. Salamoura & Williams (2007), specifically, dealt w ith priming from a Greek L1


SYNTACTIC PRIMING OF DATIVES IN L2 SPEAKERS OF ENGLISH 11 prime to an English L2 utterance. Experiment 1 of the study showed that priming effects did occur cross linguistically from Greek to English (showing a preference toward PO datives perhaps because the priming language, Greek, do es so). It also showed that priming occurred no matter what the verb was but was stronger when the verb in English was a translation of the verb given in the Greek prime sentence. This reinforced Pickering & Braniga n (1998) and provided evidence not only i n L2 dative priming but also cross linguistically from Greek to English. Although previous studies of L2 priming focused on learners of English from specific individual languages, such as German learners of English or Greek learners of English, this study examined priming in L2 learners of English from a variety of L1 languages and also included participants from varying backgrounds in English studies or time in the United States. The study was conducted this way in an attempt to answer a) if constructiona l priming is found in this more diverse pool of L2 learners, and b) if so, to what extent the priming effects are verb dependent. 3. Methods 3.1 Participants Sixteen participants, students at the University of Florida, partook in the experiment. Their language backgrounds varied, consisting of Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, Japanese, Korean, Cantonese, Hakka, Hokkien, and Hindi. T heir ages ranged from 20 to 2 9, years living in the United States ranged from 0.5 to 16, and age of arrival in the United States ranged from 5 to 28. Most participants considered themselves fluent in English, with only one assessing their


SYNTACTIC PRIMING OF DATIVES IN L2 SPEAKERS OF ENGLISH 12 self stated proficiency in English as self assessing as Their participation was voluntary, and they were not compensated in any way 3.2 Materials The first two materials that were given to the participants were a consent form (see Appendix A) and a background survey (see Appendix B) Eight ditransitive verb s were used in this experiment, four with a strong DO dative association: give tell show and offer ; and four with a strong PO dative association: bring play take and pass G ries and Stefanowit sch (2004 :106 ) identified these eight verbs as being the most highly associated with the two respective constructions A sentence completion task was created from these verbs, using each with both the DO and PO constructions in the prime and introducing ea ch of the other verbs in the following fragment for a total of 128 stimuli. These were then arranged onto eight different response sheets (see Appendix C) with each sheet containing 16 sets of prime and target items. These consisted of two of each of the eight verbs in the prime and in the fragm ents, such that no combination was repeated. Thirty two different filler sets consisting each of a complete sentence followed by a fragment were constructed. The same 32 filler sets were used in each of the eight response sheets, so that each response sheet had a total of 96 items, or 48 sets of sentence fragment pairs. The participants were not told that these were to be read as pairs and were instructed to treat each item, complete sentence or fragment, individua lly.


SYNTACTIC PRIMING OF DATIVES IN L2 SPEAKERS OF ENGLISH 13 Each response sheet was filled out by two different participants for a total of 16 responses by the 16 participants. 3.3 Procedures Each of the 16 participants was guided through the consent form with an explanation of all the major points. They then sig ned and dated the form, and the researcher then s igned and dated it as well. Afterwards, they were given the background survey to complete. Finally, they were given one of the eight response sheets and told to read each sentence and fragment in order from start to finish. They were only told that the experiment had to do with nonnative speakers of English with no mention of ditransitive constructions Participants were asked to rate the complete sentences, i.e. the primes and prime filler sentences, with a number from one to seven depending on how grammatical ly correct they sounded and then complete the following fragment into a coherent sentence however they wanted. They were told to make certain that they not to skip around, ensuring that each target sente nce was completed immediately after reading its prime and that the filler sentences were all read between primes. The researcher was present at all times and only answered questions The entire process took roughly 30 to 45 minutes for each participant. 3.4 Data Evaluation Formatted: Indent: First line: 0"


SYNTACTIC PRIMING OF DATIVES IN L2 SPEAKERS OF ENGLISH 14 A ll data were entered into an Excel spreadsheet for analysis. The experiment yielded a total of 512 responses out of which 126 were either a DO or a PO dative completion. These 126 cases were coded for the following variables: (i) COMPLETION: whether the completion selected by the participant was either a DO dative or a PO dative; (ii) CONSTRUCTION PRIME: whether the construction pre sented in the prime was a DO dative or a PO dative; (iii) VERB BIAS PRIME: whether the verb presented in the prime was one of the verbs biased towards the DO dative, or one of the verbs biased towards the PO dative; (iv) VERB BIAS FRAGMENT: whether the verb presented in the fragment was one of the verbs biased towards the DO dative, or one of the verbs biased towards the PO dative. After coding, the data were subjected to a binary logistic regression analysis with COMPLETION as the dependent variable and CONSTRUCTION PRIME, VERB BIAS PRIME, and VERB BIAS FRAGMENT as independent variables. A logistic regression is a statistic that identified those variables (and their potential interactions) that best predict which one of two levels of a dependent variable is rea lized. In the present study, the logistic regression was used to see which of the three independent variables and/or their two way interactions could predict whether participants selected a DO or a PO dative response. More specifically this study employed a stepwise regression ; in a stepwise regression, predictors (and/or their two way interactions) are discarded in a stepwise fashion until the final (or minimal adequate)


SYNTACTIC PRIMING OF DATIVES IN L2 SPEAKERS OF ENGLISH 15 model contains only predictors (main effects and/or interactions) that significantly account for the variance observable in the data. Using the statistics and programming environment R this study yielded a minimal adequate model by manually reducing the model on the basis of the output provided by the glm and Anova ( type="III", test .stati stic="Wald") functions. Six model iterations were run to yield the final adequate model. The final statistics for goodness of fit of the minimal adequate model were determined using the lrm function. 4. Results The logistic regression analysis indicated an overall weak correlation between the 2 =0.129; df=1 ; p=0.0007** ) and a moderately predictive power of the minimal adequate model ( C =0.655) The only predictor remaining in the minimal adequate model was the bias of the verb in the target fragment ( VERB BIAS FRAGMENT ). Table 4.1 provides a statistical summary of the minimal z value, and confidence intervals (CIs). Table 4. 1 Minimal Adequate Regression Model Summary S tatistics Predictor Coefficient S.E. z 2.5% CI 97.5% CI Intercept 1.5362 0.2674 5.75 2.093 1.039 VERB BIAS FRAGMENT 1.5362 0.4526 3.39 0.654 2.439 choice of completion? Table 4.2 provides a numerical summary of the number of DO and PO


SYNTACTIC PRIMING OF DATIVES IN L2 SPEAKERS OF ENGLISH 16 completions following DO and PO biased verbs, respectively; Figure 4.1 provides a visual representation of this distribution. Table 4.2 Count of COMPLETION by VERB BIAS FRAGMENT COMPLETION VERB BIAS FRAGMENT DO PO Total DO 79 17 96 PO 15 15 30 Total 94 32 126 Figure 4 .1 Count of COMPLETION by VERB BIAS FRAGMENT Looking at Table 4.2 and Figure 4.1, we can see that the significance of the effect of VERB BIAS FRAGMENT stems from the fact that when the verb in the fragment is biased towards the PO dative construction, participants responded 15 times with a DO complet ion and 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 DO PO Count of COMPLETION VERB BIAS FRAGMENT DO PO


SYNTACTIC PRIMING OF DATIVES IN L2 SPEAKERS OF ENGLISH 17 15 times with a PO completion the verb bias of the verb in the fragment did not entice them to produce a higher share of PO responses than DO responses. When the verb presented in the fragment was biased towards the D O dative, in contrast, participants were much more likely to respond with e DO completion (79 times) than a PO completion (17 times). So in summary, VERB BIAS FRAGMENT had an effect to the extent that DO biased verbs significantly primed DO responses, while PO biased verbs did not yield a comparably higher share of PO responses. This one sided effect of the verb bias in the prime gave motivation to closer examination of the eight individual verbs featured in the present study. Table 4.3 provides an overview of the number of DO/PO completions following these eight verbs; Figure 4.2 is a graphical illustration of these numbers. Table 4.3 Count of COMPLETION by Target Fragment Verb COMPLETION Target Fragment Verb DO PO Total give 24 5 29 tell 18 1 19 show 19 6 25 offer 18 5 23 bring 10 6 16 play 0 2 2 pass 5 7 12 Total 94 32 126


SYNTACTIC PRIMING OF DATIVES IN L2 SPEAKERS OF ENGLISH 18 Figure 4.2 Count of COMPLETION by Target Fragment Verb As Figure 4.2 shows the verbs highly associated with the DO construction each triggered DO responses in the clear majority, hence generating the observed overall high number of DO responses obvious in Figure 4.1. In contrast, the PO associated verbs had minimal to no priming effect. T ake is not featured in Figure 4.2 at all P lay yielded only two responses completed with a dative construction both with the expected PO dative. triggered an overall ratio of DO and PO responses that only marginally favored the PO dative. have to conclude that it primed for the alternative structure rather than the one it is associated with itself. 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 give tell show offer bring play pass Count of COMPLETION Target Fragment Verb DO PO


SYNTACTIC PRIMING OF DATIVES IN L2 SPEAKERS OF ENGLISH 19 In summary, the results confirm ed a s ignificant impact of the verb bias of the verb in the fragment; however, this global result needs to be specified such that while the DO biased verbs reliably primed for DO completions, the PO biased verbs did not reliably prime for PO constructions at all another PO biased verb ( more D O than PO responses. 5. Discussion The questions that the results of this study attempted to answer were: a) is constructional priming found in this more diverse pool of L2 learners? and b) if so, to what extent are the priming effects verb dependent? The results indicated that priming was indeed found in this diverse pool of L2 learners, but not, as previous studies suggested, in the same way as it would be found in the priming of L1 English speakers. Priming was only found to occur based upon the bias of verb in the target fragment (VERB BIAS FRAGMENT) and was not dependent upon any of the other variables. More specifically, priming was only found when the verb in the target fragment was biased towards the DO dative, and not the PO dative. Moreover, th e priming was highly verb specific; whether the participant used a DO or PO construction or neither was highly lexically driven, especially among the PO biased verbs. The PO biased verbs are particularly interesting in the specific results that were yielde d from for the individual verbs. The reasons for the low priming e ffect of these verbs may have to do with the verbs themselves. Although their association strengths to the PO dative over the DO dative are the four strongest among dative verbs according to Gries & Stefanowitsch, the verbs themselves, did not seem to be strongly biased towards the dative in general, preferring


SYNTACTIC PRIMING OF DATIVES IN L2 SPEAKERS OF ENGLISH 20 instead other verb specific constructions to either the PO or DO. Verb fragments with the verb were not i at the of these show that the verbs chosen tended to prime for objects and constructions other than dative in many cases. As mentioned above, although the verbs chosen in this study were chosen based on their association strengt h to one dative structure over the other, this did not necessarily ensure that they had a high association strength to the dative construction in general. In the future, it may be beneficial, in order to yield more applicable results to the study to limit the verbs to those that are specifically used almost exclusively in the dative (like many of the DO verbs, such completed with neither the DO nor PO dative. Overall, the results support the findings of Melinger (2005), also supported by Arai et al. (2007), that syntactic priming is in part lexically driven. Much of the priming that occurred was a direct result of the association strengths of the verbs in the t arget fragment themselves. In fact,


SYNTACTIC PRIMING OF DATIVES IN L2 SPEAKERS OF ENGLISH 21 this study indicates that, in non native speakers of English, this is the only factor that contributes to priming and not the structure or verb in the prime sentence. The current study however, did not have any prime fr agment pairs that used the same verb in the target fragment as in the prime sentence. Following Pickering & Branigan (1998), priming is stronger when the verbs match in the prime and target; therefore, had this study included such pairings, perhaps priming would have occurred in some of the verbs where it did not, particularly the PO biased verbs. Arai et al. (2007) showed that this also occurred in comprehension, and Salamoura & Williams (2007) showed that it was also the case cross linguistically. Thus, i t is very likely that priming would have been much stronger between the prime and the target, had this been the case, whereas it seems that, for non native English speakers, priming does not occur from the prime verb or construction to the target fragment when the verbs are different. The results also differed, most importantly, from other research done in second language priming. Gries & Wulff (2005) found that priming in no n native speakers of English was much the same as that in native speakers. This stu dy found that, in a more varied pool of backgrounds, priming in non native speakers was quite different. It did not occur with many of the aforementioned independent variables, as one would expect based on priming in native speakers and only occurred based on the VERB BIAS FRAGMENT An other item to take into consideration for future studies is the sample size. A lthough a participant pool of sixteen is enough for the statistics run in this study, a larger, more representative sample size, covering the different L1s more in d epth, would be able to provide


SYNTACTIC PRIMING OF DATIVES IN L2 SPEAKERS OF ENGLISH 22 more insight into how this factor and others concerning the participant s backgrounds affected these results, such as possible L1 trasnfer effects. 6. References Arai, M., van Gompel, R., & Scheepers, C. (2007). Priming ditransitive structures in comprehension. Cognitive Psychology, 54(3), 218 250. Bernolet, S., & Hartsuiker, R. (2010). Does verb bias modulate syntactic pr iming? Cognition, 114(3), 455 461. Bock, J. K. (1986). Syntactic persistence in language production. Cognitive Psychology, 18, 355 387. Bock, K. (1989) Closed class immanence in sentence production. Cognition, 31, 163 186. Bock, J. K., Dell, G. S., Chang, F., & Onishi, K. H. (2007). Persistent structural priming from language comprehension to language production. Cognition, 104(3), 437 458. Branigan, H. P. Pickering, M. J. & Cleland, A. (1999). Syntactic priming in written production: Evidence for rapid decay. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 6(4), 635 640. Branigan, H. P., Pickering, M. J., Stewart, A. J., & McLean, J. F. (2000). Syntactic priming in spoken production: linguistic and temporal interference. Memory & Cogniti on, 28, 1297 1302. Branigan, H. P., Pickering, M. J., McLean, J. F., & Stewart, A. J. (2006). The role of local and global syntactic structure in language production: Evidence from syntactic priming. Language and Cognitive Processes, 21, 974 1010.


SYNTACTIC PRIMING OF DATIVES IN L2 SPEAKERS OF ENGLISH 23 Gries, S ., & Stefanowitsch, A. (2004). Extending collostructional analysis: a corpus based perspective on 'alternations '. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics 9 (1) 97 129 Gries, S., & Wulff, S. (2005). Do foreign language learners also have constructions? Evidence from priming, sorting and corpora. Annual Review of Cognitive Linguistics, 3, 182 200. Kaschak, M. P., Timothy, J. K., Schatschneider, C. (2010). Long term cumulative structu ral priming persists for (at least) one week, Memory Cognition, 39, 381 388 Luka, B. J., & Barsalou L. W. (2005). Structural facilitation: mere exposure effects for grammatical acceptability as evidence for syntactic priming in comprehension. Journal of Me mory and Language, 52, 436 459. McDonough, K. (2009). Using Priming Methods in Second Language Research. New York, NY: Routledge. Melinger, A. & Dobel, C. (2005). Lexically driven syntactic priming. Cognition, 98, B11 B20. Pickering, M. J., & Branigan, H. P. (1998). The representation of verbs: Evidence from syntactic priming in language production. Journal of Memory and Language, 39, 633 651. Salamoura, A., & Williams, J. (2006). Lexical activation of cross language syntactic priming. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 9, 299 307. Salamoura, A., & Williams, J. (2007). Processing verb argument structure across


SYNTACTIC PRIMING OF DATIVES IN L2 SPEAKERS OF ENGLISH 24 languages: Evidence for shared representations in the bilingual lexicon. Applied Psycholinguistics, 28, 627 660.




SYNTACTIC PRIMING OF DATIVES IN L2 SPEAKERS OF ENGLISH 26 Appendix B: Survey of Personal Background Information Survey Please answer the following. 1. What is your age? ____ 2. Are you right handed or left handed? (circle one) 3. What is your sex? M / F (circle one) 4. Do yo u have any hearing impairments? _______________________________ ____________________________________________ 5. What is your ethnic background? __________________________ _________________________________________________ 6. What is your native language ? __________ ___________ _____________________________________________ _________ 7. Please list all other languages you are proficient in along with the level of proficiency (beginner, intermediate, advanced, or fluent) ______________________________ Proficiency level:_______ _________ ___ ____________ ______________________________ Proficiency level: ___________________ ___________ ______________________________ Proficiency level: ___________________ ___________ 8. If you are an international student, what is yo ur level at the ELI? ________________________________________________________________ ___________ 9. At what age did y ou arrive in the United States? _____________________________________ ______________________________________ 10. How long have you lived in the United States? _________ ___________________________ _______________________________________ 11. How long have you studied English in the US? ____________________________________ _______________________________________ 12. Did you study Eng lish before you came to the US? ___________________ ____________________ ____________________________________ 13. If you studied English before you came to the US, where did you complete these studies? ______________________________________________ _____________________________ 14. If you studied English before you c ame to the US, how old were yo u when you began these studies? ____ _______________________________________________________________________ 15. Approximately how much time each day do you spend talking in English with native English speakers (Ex: your ELI t eache rs or other students)? ___________________________________________ ________________________________ 16. Approximately how much time each day do you spend talking in English with non native English speaker s (Ex: other students at ELI)? __________________________ ________________________________________________


SYNTACTIC PRIMING OF DATIVES IN L2 SPEAKERS OF ENGLISH 27 Appendix C: Sample B lank Response Sheet Name: __________________________________________ Rick turned the lights on. Lisa painted ________________________________________. Kim cooked dinner in a kitchen. George wrote ________________________________________. Kevin played a song for Anne. Emma took ________________________________________. Conner typed the assignment fast. Jane called ________________________________________. Jordan kicked th e football far. Lizzie ordered ________________________________________. Neil offered a pillow to Jenny. Wendy played ________________________________________. Sophie made Logan happy. Gabriel held ________________________________________. Rachel gave a pen to James. Steve showed ________________________________________. Lily called Joseph weird. Arnold wiped ________________________________________. Hannah showed Ed a plate. Peter told ________________________________________. Shannon slapped Kyle hard. Sean closed ________________________________________. Irene gave a towel to Charles. Allen showed ________________________________________. Mike ran a mile in new shoes. Linda placed ________________________________________. Nathan watched TV in the living room. Cathy found ________________________________________.


SYNTACTIC PRIMING OF DATIVES IN L2 SPEAKERS OF ENGLISH 28 Elaine took Ron a drink. Jack gave ________________________________________. Matt saw a game in the stadium. Cindy failed ________________________________________. Ryan asked Mia for the answer. Francine watched ________________________________________. Greg failed a test in Algebra. Susan saw ________________________________________. Danielle told Carl a story. Ethan brought ___________________________________ _____. Maddie painted the room blue. Andy fired ________________________________________. Rosie wiped the chair clean. Sam read ________________________________________. Henry passed a coat to Kayla. Michelle gave ________________________________________. Denise called Angie on the phone. Parker placed ________________________________________. Mark offered a folder to Bonnie. Violet took ________________________________________. Justin read the text aloud. Carmen kicked ________________________________________. Tom passed a bowl to Paula. Heather told ________________________________________. Pam placed the note on the table. Bernie set ________________________________________. Alex ate lunch with Ted. Hailey sent ________________________________________. Leslie took Bill a napkin. Victor offered ________________________________________. Tom found a magazine under the counter. Chloe made ________________________________________.


SYNTACTIC PRIMING OF DATIVES IN L2 SPEAKERS OF ENGLISH 29 Jason sent a letter to Rhode Island. Nicole hung ________________________________________. Jill showed Oscar a chair. Tyler offered ________________________________________. Walter pushed Zain hard. Doris typed ________________________________________. Christie ordered pizza late. Travis drove ________________________________________. Jake sought the truth from Ellen. Lucy asked ________________________________________. Ian played a movie for Kate. Nancy passed ________________________________________. Doug stacked the cards up. Carly slapped ________________________________________. Jackie fired Debbie instantly. Drew turned ________________________________________. Frank brought Claire a book. Tina passed ________________________________________. Zoe set a pot on the stove. Danny cooked ________________________________________. Laura closed the door shut. Gaby stacked ________________________________________. David brought Caitlin a clock. Mary played ________________________________________. Kelly listened to the radio in the library. Josh sought ________________________________________. Penny hung a poster on the wall. Robert ate ________________________________________. Sara told Luke a secret. Will brought ________________________________________. Jess walked her dog to Walgreens. Noah called ________________________________________.


SYNTACTIC PRIMING OF DATIVES IN L2 SPEAKERS OF ENGLISH 30 Ashley drove Eric home. Jerry walked ________________________________________. Brad held the rope tight. Gina pushed __ ______________________________________. Appendix D: Sample Page of a Completed Response Sheet