Speaker: Manyun Liu
Bilingualism comes in many different forms and shapes, and two of the most interesting cases are heritage speakers and second language learners. Some studies suggest that heritage speakers are significantly more native-like than adult second language learners in linguistic areas like phonology (Au et al., 2002) and morphosyntax (Montrul, 2010), and the question is still open as to whether the two bilingual groups would differ significantly in the processing of linguistic representations.
This study tests the Shallow Structure Hypothesis (SSH) (Clahsen and Felser, 2006) among L2 Chinese learners and Chinese heritage speakers through a self-paced reading task using mandarin reflexive sentences like Zhang xiansheng renwei Li xiaojie xihuan taziji de pengyou (taziji = 'herself', 'Mr. Zhang thinks that Ms. Li likes her own friends.'). The results suggest that heritage speakers of Mandarin Chinese pattern with L2 learners in processing those sentences, and that adult L2 learners' computation of representations during processing, and probably heritage speakers' as well, contains not necessarily less but obviously non-native-like syntactic details.