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Interpreting definite and bare plurals across different contexts / Linguistic intuitions beyond grammatical correctness (MEITS seminar series)

Organised as part of the AHRC-funded research project, Multilingualism: Empowering Individuals, Transforming Societies (MEITS)
When Jan 17, 2019
from 01:00 PM to 02:30 PM
Where Room 336, Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages (MML)
Contact Name
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Interpreting definite and bare plurals across different contexts: experimental evidence from adult mono- and bilingual Greek speakers


Dr Dimitra Lazaridou-Chatzigoga
Post-doctoral Researcher, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin/University of Cambridge


In this talk I will present results from a recently completed project on the distribution and interpretation of nominals with generic/anaphoric interpretation across different contexts in monolingual Greek speakers as well as in a L1-Greek L2-English bilingual population (currently resident in the UK for at least 6 years and highly proficient in English). The L2 has different settings from the L1 in the domain under study and this may result in different behaviours in the two groups. I will discuss results from a context-based acceptability judgment task and a timed truth value judgment task that involved ambiguity resolution. Initial analyses do not reveal any differences between the two groups in these tasks. The implications of such results as well as future research directions will be discussed.


Linguistic intuitions beyond grammatical correctness: evidence from untutored L2 learners


Dr Teresa Parodi

University Lecturer, Theoretical and Applied Linguistics, Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages


Adult L2 learners are widely and unanimously reported to perform badly with respect to inflectional morphology, in particular with bound morphemes. This shows in the lack of markings for tense and plural, for example, observed in production and confirmed by comprehension tests.

The observation holds for speakers whose L1 is morphologically rich, such as Turkish, or poor, such as Chinese. Beyond showing lack of knowledge of the relevant language, the phenomenon has normally been taken as an indication that L2 learners´ utterances aim at conveying meaning on the basis of lexical items, but without any particular grammatical organisation. In this presentation I will use evidence from learners of German and Dutch to shed light on alternative means used by (untutored) L2 learners to convey information about tense and number, that reveal their linguistic intuitions and the solutions found to express them.

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