L2 Sentence Processing: Building structure from words

Holger Hopp, University of Braunschweig, Germany

In this plenary, I explore the relations between lexical representations and syntactic structure in L2 acquisition. Based on a series of experiments on real-time sentence comprehension, I outline (a) how lexical knowledge and access to lexical representations may drive or hamper structure building in L2 sentence processing and (b) how co-activation of the L1 lexicon impacts L2 syntactic processing across different ages and proficiency levels. In conjunction, these findings highlight the importance of understanding the lexical preconditions for constructing L2 grammatical representations. I will consider the implications of lexical representations and processing for grammar learning as well as potential consequences for language teaching.


 Holger Hopp is Professor of English Linguistics at the University of Braunschweig (Germany). In his research, he is interested in child and adult second language acquisition, sentence processing in second and third languages and language contact in heritage speakers, language learners and language attrition. He has been studying phenomena in syntax, morphology and phonology by using different methods including reaction-time tasks, eye tracking and elicited production paradigms

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