AcqVA lunch seminar – Trondheim

Schedule Spring 2018

Wednesdays, 11:00 – 12:00

January 17 – room 3432

January 25 – room 3432
Nicole Busby
Investigating academic English reading among Norwegian university students

January 31 – room 3432

February 7 – room 3432
Sunniva B. Strætkvern
Left Dislocation in L2 English: L1-effects at the syntax-discourse interface

February 14 –  Universitetsbiblioteket, Dragvoll

February 28 – room 3432
Ragnhild Eik og Dave Kush.

March 7 – room 3432  NB! 11.00-13.00
Discussion: AcqVA future and strategy: Where do we want to be in 5 years and how do we get there?

March 14 – room 3432

March 21 – room 4402D

April 4 –  room 3432 [talk in D14, 12:15-14]
Ian Cunnings, University of Reading
Parsing and Working Memory in Non-Native Sentence Comprehension

The similarities and differences between native (L1) and non-native (L2) sentence processing have been widely debated (see Cunnings, 2017). One influential account claims L2 learners have difficulty using syntactic information during processing (Clahsen & Felser, 2006). Others argue L1 and L2 processing are fundamentally similar, with any differences resulting from L2 learners lacking processing ‘capacity’ or working memory resources (McDonald, 2006).
In this talk, I will argue that recent research suggests L2 learners construct syntactic structure similarly to L1 speakers during sentence processing. I will also argue that capacity-based limitations do not explain the observed L1/L2 differences. Building on recent work in the L1 processing literature (Lewis et al., 2006; Van Dyke et al., 2014), I will argue L1/L2 differences can be explained in terms of how information is encoded and retrieved from memory during sentence processing. In particular, I will argue that L2 learners may weight memory retrieval cues differently to L1 speakers. More broadly, and in line with recent advances in L1 processing which argue against ‘capacity-based’ views of working memory (Van Dyke et al., 2014), this account predicts difficulty observed in L2 comprehension is best explained in terms of the quality and content, rather than quantity, of information that needs to be encoded and retrieved from memory during processing.

April 11 – room 4402D

April 18 – room 3432

April 25 – room 3432

May 2 – room 3432

May 9 – talk at 14:15 in D130
Zoe Schlueter, University of Edinburgh
Are second language speakers more rational?

Research on cognitive reasoning biases has shown that people are predictably irrational in their decision-making (Kahneman 2011). For example, when presented with a safe and a risky option of equivalent utility, they are more likely to choose the safe option when it is framed in terms of gain rather than loss (loss aversion bias). However, some recent work suggests that people are less prone to classic cognitive biases in their second language (L2) than in their first language (L1) (Costa et al. 2014, Keysar et al. 2012). This “foreign language effect” has been argued to show that decision-making heuristics are less dominant in L2 than L1 reasoning and has been attributed to a reduction in the emotional weight associated with the L2 (Costa et al. 2014). However, an alternative explanation is that the materials in these experiments are susceptible to multiple interpretations and a decision that is irrational under one interpretation is perfectly rational under another interpretation (as shown in monolinguals by Mandel 2013). Therefore, the difference between L1 and L2 speakers might be due to subtle differences between native and non-native interpretations affected by proficiency. We explore this by examining the effect of proficiency on the loss aversion bias in native Spanish speakers at different levels of English proficiency. While we do not replicate the finding that L2 users in general are “more rational” in their decision making than L1 speakers, we do find that loss aversion bias is affected by proficiency in the L2.

May 16 – room 3432

May 23 – room 3432

May 30 – room 3432

June 6 – room  3432