This study examines native and non-native speakers’ processing of regular past-tense verbs in Japanese, using the masked priming paradigm. Previous studies have reported conflicting evidence about whether L2 speakers process morphologically complex words in the same way as L1 speakers do (see Perani & Abutalebi, 2005; Diependaele, Duñabeitia, Morris, & Keuleers, 2011) or not (see Silva & Clahsen, 2008; Ullman, 2001). The current study expands this line of inquiry to a non-European language, Japanese. Both native and non-native Japanese speakers (with intermediate and advanced proficiency) took a visual, single-word lexical decision task in Japanese under three masked priming conditions: (1) identical, (2) inflected and (3) unrelated prime (e.g. (1) “taberu”, (2) “tabeta” & (3) “kawaru” for the target word “taberu”) via DMDX (Forster & Forster, 2003) where the participants’ reaction time was measured. The preliminary results revealed that only the native speakers showed morphological priming effects, suggesting that, whereas native speakers decompose morphologically complex words during online processing (see also Yokoyama et al., 2006), non-native speakers rely more on lexical storage. This finding is in line with the predictions of the declarative/procedural model (Ullman, 2001). The pedagogical implications of this processing difference between native and non-native speakers will be discussed.
Takehiro Iizuka, Ph.D. student/Japanese Instructor
University of Maryland, College Park/University of Shiga Prefecture
About the presenter:
Takehiro Iizuka received his B.A. from the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies and his M.A. from Texas Tech University. He is currently a Ph.D. student in Second Language Acquisition at the University of Maryland, College Park. His research interests include instructed SLA, implicit and explicit knowledge, individual differences, and L2 processing. He has also been serving as a Japanese instructor in the U.S. Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program since Summer 2016.