[PS-1.64] Prosodic cues in the processing of scope ambiguity: L1 and L2 productions of the 'not-because' construction in English

Koizumi, Y. & Echenique-Diaz, L. M.

Yamagata University

As part of the investigation on prosodic factors in sentence comprehension, we present results from elicited production experiments on L1 and L2 English speakers on the scope ambiguity involving negation and because-adverbials (e.g. The secretary didn't resign because the company increased/decreased her salary). Although dispreference for low/VP attachment for because (salary decrease) was found in Frazier and Clifton's (1996) word-by-word reading paradigm, when embedded under an if-clause, the reading time difference between the high/IP-attachment and the low/VP-attachment disambiguated targets disappeared when the whole construction was presented over one line, but not when presented over two lines (Koizumi, 2009). A subsequent study found no such effects on the advanced L2 learners' reading, indicating that the implicit prosodic cues that L1ers access do not seem available to L2ers. To check that these results can indeed be attributed to prosody, we conducted elicited production studies. The acoustic analysis results suggest that, while L1ers tend to produce the targets with the expected prosodic distinction (crucially with an IPh boundary before because in Main, but not If, contexts), L2 production demonstrated much less variability across disambiguation and clause types. This confirms the hypothesis that L2ers are indeed unable to access prosodic cues as L1ers could.