Early and late bilingual processing of Spanish gender, morphology and gender congruency
The present study investigates whether advanced proficiency-matched early and late bilinguals display gender agreement processing quantitatively and qualitatively similar to that of native speakers of Spanish. To address this issue, a timed grammaticality judgment task was used to analyze the effects on accuracy and reaction times of grammatical gender, morphology, and gender congruency of the article and adjective within a noun phrase. Overall results indicated no significant statistical differences between the native speakers and the two bilingual groups. Both early and late bilinguals displayed similar grammatical gender knowledge in their underlying grammars. A detailed examination of the congruency effect, however, revealed that the native speakers, not the bilinguals, displayed sensitivity to gender agreement violations. Moreover, the native and heritage speakers pattern together in accuracy and directionality of gender agreement processing: both were less accurate with incongruent articles than with incongruent adjectives, while the second language learners were equally accurate in both agreement domains. Despite having internalized gender in their implicit grammars, the late bilinguals did not show native-like patterns in real time processing. The present findings suggest that, for high proficiency speakers, there is a distinct advantage for early over late bilinguals in achieving native-like gender lexical access and retrieval. Therefore, age of acquisition, in conjunction with learning context, might be the best predictor of native-like gender agreement processing at advanced and near-native proficiency levels.
The data set used for this article can be found here.
Alarcón, Irma, 2020, "Replication Data for: Early and late bilingual processing of Spanish gender, morphology, and gender congruency", https://doi.org/10.18710/9BAXWN, DataverseNO, V1.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).