Processing constraints and information structure as moderating factors on first- and second-language use of the causal conjunction parce que

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Causal conjunctions have been studied by linguists (e.g. Groupe Lambda-l 1975; Debaisieux 1994; Lambrecht, Bordeaux, and Reichle 2006) and by psycholinguists and cognitive psychologists interested in language processing (e.g. Millis and Just 1994; Millis, Golding, and Barker 1995). These approaches result in different descriptions of the French word parce que ‘because.’ It is predicted to be unmarked in its information structure, but marked in its processing due to the increased load it places on processing resources and working memory. This chapter compares these two possible moderating factors on the use of parce que by analyzing corpus data from native speakers and second language learners of French, and argues that the information structure of the conjunction plays a greater role than its processability in determining its use in spoken French.


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