Chapter 7. The L2 semantic attentional blink

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Second language (L2) users are typically less proficient in their L2 than in their first language. One explanation may be that the L2 requires more attentional capacity. To test this, English speakers of L2 French performed a semantic attentional blink (AB) task, in both languages. A significant AB effect was obtained in each language; however, the effect was smaller in the L2, indicating that the attention burden associated with the AB task was paradoxically lower in the L2. Also, the magnitude of the AB effect correlated positively with a measure of L2 lexical access efficiency. Results are discussed in terms of attention-based and automatic processing in L2 lexical access and in terms of their implications for L2 learning and teaching.


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