Chapter 9. Semantic integration in listening comprehension in a second language

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A cross-modal priming task was used to examine listening comprehension by second language speakers. Participants were asked to perform a written lexical decision task on targets that were presented in different auditory sentential contexts. The context and the target were congruent (i.e., the target being highly predictable), neutral (i.e., possible but not predictable), or incongruent (i.e., inappropriate), as in “The girl mailed the letter without a stamp/sticker/stone.” Native speakers showed a priming effect for both congruent and neutral conditions in relation to the incongruent condition, but nonnative speakers showed a priming effect only for the congruent condition. No difference was observed between the neutral and incongruent conditions. Explanations of these findings and possible implications for language teaching are discussed.


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