[PS-3.72] The impact of cognate status and L1 versus L2 structural preferences on L2 sentence production

Jackson, C. 1 , Massaro, A. . 1 & Hopp, H. 2

1 Pennsylvania State University
2 University of Braunschweig

Research suggests that syntactic representations are co-activated across languages during L2 production (Hartsuiker & Pickering, 2008). The present study investigates the role of L1 vs. L2 structural preferences and whether cognate facilitation effects in lexical-level L2 processing (see van Hell & Tanner, 2012) extend to syntactic planning during L2 production. Advanced L1 German-L2 English and L1 English speakers completed an English sentence production task with possessive constructions, like The man?s bed is yellow (pre-modified) vs. The bed of the man is yellow (post-modified) (Runnqvist et al., 2013). While English prefers the former construction, German strongly prefers the latter. Offline acceptability judgments showed that L2 speakers rated post-modified constructions as more acceptable than L1 speakers. A picture naming task revealed a robust cognate facilitation effect for head nouns in the target constructions (bed) among L1 German-L2 English speakers. In sentence production, however, both L1 and L2 speakers were faster to produce pre-modified constructions and there was no effect for cognate status of the head noun in either group. Together, these results suggest that, for L2 sentence planning, the impact of cognate status and L1 structural preferences may be limited, even when robust effects for these factors occur in other tasks.