image of Adult L2 learners’ morphological sensitivity in a morphosyllabic language
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This study examined adult L2 learners’ morphological sensitivity in Chinese, a morphosyllabic language, and explored whether there is any modulating effects of L2 proficiency. Two word naming experiments (segment shifting and standard word naming) were administered to three participant groups, including native Chinese speakers, higher L2 Chinese proficiency learners, and lower L2 Chinese proficiency learners. In both experiments, reaction times (RTs) displayed only main effects of Chinese proficiency group and word type. This suggests that the morphological processing of L2 learners did not differ from that of native speakers, although the RTs of L2 learners were longer and exhibited more variability. Concerning error rates, both experiments showed that learners with higher and lower L2 proficiency had significantly higher error rates for words with unreliable morphological cues compared to those with reliable cues. Taken together, these findings indicate that L2 learners developed sensitivity to intraword morphological structure and employed decompositional strategies when reading Chinese words, irrespective of their L2 proficiency levels.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keywords: morphological processing ; Chinese ; word naming ; second language proficiency
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