The influence of the phonological form on the l1 and l2 gender production
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University of Leipzig / Germany Andreas Opitz Denisa Bordag & Thomas Pechmann. The influence of the phonological form on the L1 and L2 gender production. Gender processing in L1. Is there an interaction between the levels of phonological and grammatical encoding?

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The influence of the phonological form on the L1 and L2 gender production

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The influence of the phonological form on the l1 and l2 gender production

University of Leipzig / Germany

Andreas Opitz

Denisa Bordag & Thomas Pechmann

The influence of the phonological form on the L1 and L2 gender production


Gender processing in l1

Gender processing in L1

  • Is there an interaction between the levels of phonological and grammatical encoding?

  • An interaction implies that phonological forms may exhibit influence on gender selection.

    • contra influence: - Levelt’s model

    • pro influence: - Dell’s Interactive Activation Model- Caramazza’s Independent Network Model


Gender processing in l11

Gender processing in L1

  • empirical evidence is equivocal

    • pro-influence:

      • Tucker, Lambert, and Rigault (1977) (French)

      • Bates et al. (1995) (Italian)

      • MacWhinney et al. (1989)

    • contra-influence:

      • Badecker et al. (1995) (Italian)

      • Taraban and Kempe (1999) (Russian)

      • Gollan and Frost (2001) (Hebrew)


Gender processing in l2

Gender processing in L2

  • Most studies find that L2 learners are sensitive to gender cues, especially word terminations:

    • Taraban and Roark (1996) (L2 French)

    • Taraban and Kempe (1999) (L2 Russian)

    • Oliphant (1998) (L2 Italian)

    • Bordag (2004) (L2 Czech)


The influence of the phonological form on the l1 and l2 gender production

  • We focused on:

    • speech comprehension andspeech production

    • L1 and L2 processing

    • German / (English)


Gender in german

Gender in German

  • German is a gender marked language(masculine, feminine and neuter nouns)

  • phonological gender cues for monomorphemic German nouns:

    • feminine nouns end usually with a schwa –ee.g. die Kerze – ‘the candle’ typical

    • masculine and neuter nouns with a consonante.g. der Baum – ‘the tree’ ordas Buch – ‘the book’ ambiguous


Gender in german1

Gender in German

  • a small number of monomorphemic feminine nouns end with a consonant (e.g. die Burg – the castle)

    vice versa a small number of masculine and neuter nouns end with an –e(e.g. der Käse – ‘the cheese’ or das Ende – ‘the end’) atypical

    (cf. Köpcke & Zubin, 1983; Mills, 1986)


Hypothesis

Hypothesis

  • If phonological cues are used for gender processing, then one should expect faster and smoother processing when a noun’s termination is in congruence with its gender.

  • On the other hand, one would expect processing difficulties when a noun has an ambiguous or even atypical termination for its gender.


Items 1

Items 1

  • Three different groups:

    - A: gender typical termination

    (f): -e (Nase ‘nose’)

    - B: ambiguoustermination

    (m/n): -C (Hut ‘hat’ / Brot ‘bread’)

    - C: gender atypicaltermination

    (m/n): -e (Käse ‘cheese’ / Auge ‘eye’)

    (f): -C(Hand ‘hand’)


Selection of items

Selection of items

  • criteria:

    • monomorphemic and concrete

    • no natural gender (sexus)

    • from basic vocabulary

    • easily depictable

  • the groups A, B, C were balanced regarding:

    • frequency

    • length

    • degree of similarity between German-English translation equivalents (degree of cognateness)*

    • familiarity to L2 learners*

(* based on pre-test ratings)


Experiment 1 l1 picture naming

Experiment 1 - L1 picture naming

  • Subjects

    • 18 participants

    • German native speakers

    • age ranged from 21 to 36 (24 on average)

    • students at the University of Leipzig


Experiment 1 l1 picture naming1

Experiment 1 - L1 picture naming

  • Materials

    • 48 critical items in the groups A, B, C

      • 16 typical

      • 16 ambiguous

      • 16 atypical

    • 10 practice/filler items


Experiment 1 l1 picture naming2

Experiment 1 - L1 picture naming

  • Procedure

    • picture naming

    • 2 conditions:

      • Short: naming with a bare noun (Baum)

      • Long: naming with adj. + noun (großer Baum)* agreement between the noun and the modifying adjective (clearly gender-marked)* adjectives used: groß & klein (‘big’ & ‘small’)

    • 2 main versions:

      • 1. short condition – long condition

      • 2. long condition – short condition


Experiment 1 l1 picture naming3

Experiment 1 - L1 picture naming

  • Example - short conditionTasse (cup)


Experiment 1 l1 picture naming4

Experiment 1 - L1 picture naming

  • Example – long conditionkleine Tasse (small cup)


Results of experiment 1 l1 picture naming

Results of Experiment 1 (L1 picture naming)

  • ‘length’ F1: p < 0.01F2: p < 0.01

  • ‘group’: F1: p = 0.14 F2: p = 0.67

  • ‘length x group’F1: p = 0.63F2: p = 0.86


Results of experiment 1 l1 picture naming1

Results of Experiment 1(L1 picture naming)

  • ‘length’ F1: p = 0.21 F2: p = 0.71

  • ‘group’: F1: p = 0.10 F2: p = 0.20

  • ‘length x group’F1: p = 0.13 F2: p = 0.72

  • The results did not bring evidence that L1 gender processing is affected by the phonological form of the noun.


Experiment 2 l1 grammaticality judgment

Experiment 2 L1 grammaticality judgment

  • Noun phrases of the form:

    demonstrative pronoun + noun

    e.g. dieser Baum

    * dieses Blume

    had to be judged as wrong or right.

  • All critical items were combined with a pronoun that mismatched with their gender.


Experiment 2 l1 gramm decision

Experiment 2 - L1 gramm. decision

  • Subjects

    • same as in Experiment 1

  • Materials

    • 48 critical items from Experiment 1 combined with pronouns that mismatched their gender (NO-answer), but corresponded to the gender which could be expected according to their terminatione.g. *diese(f) Käse(m) ‘this cheese’*dieses(n) Burg(f) ‘this castle’

    • 120 fillers were added to balance the experiment with respect to yes- no-answers and number of M, F, N


Experiment 2 l1 gramm decision1

Experiment 2 - L1 gramm. decision

  • Procedure

    • stimuli appeared on a computer screen

    • participants had to decide whether a presented noun phrase was grammatically correct by pressing a YES- or NO-button

    • the items were equally distributed in four blocks

    • participants’ reaction times and correctness were recorded


Results of experiment 2 l1 grammatical decision

Results of Experiment 2(L1 grammatical decision )

  • ‘group’: F1: p = 0.30 F2: p = 0.49


Results of experiment 2 l1 grammatical decision1

Results of Experiment 2(L1 grammatical decision)

  • ‘group’: F1: p = 0.17F2: p = 0.28


Discussion of experiments 1 and 2

Discussion of Experiments 1 and 2

  • Reaction times and the error rates were statistically identical for nouns with a gender typical, ambiguous, and atypical termination.

  • There were no effects observed that would support the hypothesis of an influence of phonological forms on gender retrieval.


Experiment 3 l2 picture naming

Experiment 3 – L2 picture naming

  • Subjects

    • 18 participants

    • English native speakers

    • intermediate to low advanced knowledge of German

    • age ranged from 19 to 42 (27 on average)


Experiment 3 l2 picture naming1

Experiment 3 - L2 picture naming

  • Material, Procedure

    • … were the same as in Experiment 1 (L1 picture naming)


Results of experiment 3 l2 picture naming

Results of Experiment 3(L2 picture naming)

  • ‘length’ F1: p < 0.01F2: p < 0.01

  • ‘group’: F1: p < 0.01 F2: p < 0.05Scheffé test:F1: (A, B) x C F2: A x (B, C)

  • ‘length x group’F1: p = 0.02F2: p = 0.17

  • ‘group’: only long condition significant: F1: p < 0.01; F2: p < 0.05

  • Scheffé-test: (A,B) x C


Results of experiment 3 l2 picture naming1

Results of Experiment 3(L2 picture naming)

  • ‘length’ F1: p < 0.01F2: p < 0.01

  • ‘group’: F1: p < 0.01 F2: p = 0.01

    Scheffé-test:(F1&F2): A x (B,C)

  • ‘length x group’F1: p < 0.01 F2: p < 0.01

gender – errors:group A: 1group B: 50group C: 49


Results of experiment 3 l2 picture naming2

Results of Experiment 3(L2 picture naming)

  • Both the analyses of reaction times and error rates revealed clear differences between the three groups:

    Group AGroup BGroup C

    (typical)(ambiguous)(atypical)

    faster slower

    less errorsmore errors

  • The effect was obtained only in the long condition.


Experiment 4 l2 gramm decision

Experiment 4 – L2 gramm. decision

  • Subjects

    • … were the same as Experiment 3

  • Material, Procedure

    • … were the same as in Experiment 2 (L1 grammatical decision)


Results of experiment 4 l2 grammatical decision

Results of Experiment 4(L2 grammatical decision)

  • ‘group’: F1: p = 0.02 F2: p = 0.70

  • post hoc Scheffé test insignificant in both F1 and F2


Results of experiment 4 l2 grammatical decision1

Results of Experiment 4(L2 grammatical decision)

  • ‘group’: F1: p < 0.01 F2: p < 0.01

  • post hoc Scheffé test:F1: A x B x C F2: A x (B, C)


Results of experiment 4 l2 grammatical decision2

Results of Experiment 4(L2 grammatical decision )

  • Why did RTs in F2 failed to reach significance?

    • extremely high error rates

      (almost 50% in the Group C).

Mean response times in ms and error rates in Experiment 4


General discussion

General discussion

  • We found:

    • no differences between processing of gender typical, ambiguous and atypical nouns in L1 German

    • L2 German speakers had least difficulties with processing of typically gender marked nouns and most difficulties with nouns showing an atypical marking for their gender.


General discussion1

General discussion

  • Two possible hypotheses which can account for the different patterns of results in L1 & L2:

    • An essential difference in L1 and L2 processing: In L1 there is an independent retrieval of grammatical and phonological information, in L2 these two interact

    • No clear-cut difference between gender processing in L1 and L2, but the results reflect different levels of gender processing skills


General discussion2

General discussion

  • Two possible hypotheses which can account for the different patterns of results in L1 & L2:

    • An essential difference in L1 and L2 processing: In L1 there is an independent retrieval of grammatical and phonological information, in L2 these two interact

    • No clear-cut difference between gender processing in L1 and L2, but the results reflect different levels of gender processing skills


General discussion3

General discussion

  • further evidence for the second hypothesis:

    • connectionist simulations that correlate gender competence with frequency of exposure (Taraban and Kempe, 1999)

    • L1 acquisition: children experience similar difficulties with opaquely gender marked nouns (for German: Mills, 1986; for Czech: Henzel, 1975)


General discussion4

General discussion

  • Implications for the modeling of speech processing:

    • Serial, modular models (e.g. Levelt, 1989) can account only for processing in adult L1 while

    • interactive models (e.g. Dell, 1986) can explain the effects found for L2 processing as well.


References 1

References 1

  • Badecker, W., Miozzo, M., & Zanuttini, R. (1995). The two-stage model of lexical retrieval: evidence from a case of anomia with selective preservation of grammatical gender. Cognition, 57, 193-216.

  • Bates, E., Devescovi, A., &Pizzaniglio, L. (1995). Gender and lexical access in Italian. Perception and Psychophysics, 57 (6), 847-862.

  • Caramazza, A. (1997). How many levels of processing are there in lexical access? Cognitive Neuropsychology, 14, 177-208.

  • Dell, G.S. (1986). A spreading-activation theory of retrieval in sentence production. Psychological Review, 93, 283-321.

  • Gollan T., & Frost, R. (2001). The syntactic route to grammatical gender. Journal Of Psycholinguistic Research, 30, 627-651.

  • Henzel, V. M. (1975). Acquisition of grammatical gender in Czech. Reports on Child Language Development, 10, 188-200.

  • Köpcke, K.M., & Zubin, D. (1983). Die kognitive Organisation der Genuszuweisung zu den einsilbigen Nomen der deutschen Gegenwartssprache. Zeitschrift für germanistische Linguistik, 11, 166-182.


References 2

References 2

  • Levelt, W.J.M. (1989). Speaking. From intention to articulation. Cambridge, Mass.

  • MacWhinney, B., Leinbach, J., Taraban, R., McDonald, J.L. (1989). Language learning: Cues or rules? Journal of Memory and Language, 28, 255-277.

  • Oliphant, K. (1998). Acquisition of Grammatical Gender in Italian as a Foreign Language. Canadian Modern Language Review, 54, 2.

  • Taraban, R., & Kempe, V. (1999). Gender processing in native and non-native Russian -speakers. Applied Psycholinguistics, 20, 119-148.

  • Taraban, R., & Roark, B. (1996). Competition in learning language-based categories. Applied Psycholinguistics, 17, 125-148.

  • Tucker, G.R., W.E. Lambert, & A.A. Rigault (1977). The French Speaker's Skill with Grammatical Gender: An Example of Rule-Governed Behaviour. The Hague: Mouton.


The influence of the phonological form on the l1 and l2 gender production

Thank you!


Selection of items1

Selection of items

  • the three groups did not differ regarding similaritybetween L1 and L2 translations, familiarity,frequency and length

  • the three groups differed in the degreeof gender-transparency:


Experiment 2 l1 gramm judgm

Experiment 2 - L1 gramm. judgm

  • examples of items that should easily be detected as gender-mismatched:

    • ‘diese Stuhl’ – this(f) chair(m)typical

    • ‘dieses Blume’ – this(n) flower(f) typical

  • examples of items that should not as easily be detected as gender-mismatched:

    (pseudo-congruence on phonological level)

    • ‘diese Käse’ - this(f) cheese(m) atypical

    • ‘dieses Burg’ – this(n) castle(f) atypical


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