Departmental Bulletin Paper A Preliminary Study on Why Second Language Learners Accept Ungrammatical Sentences: Its Theoretical Implications

YAMADA, Toshiyuki

67pp.165 - 176 , 2018-01-31 , 群馬大学教育学部
Why do second language learners sometimes accept ungrammatical sentences in the target language? In thepresent study, we focus on Japanese-speaking learners of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) and investigatewhether such “grammatical illusion” effect would be observed in them and whether the effect could bedependent on their proficiency. The results of one acceptability judgment questionnaire experiment and ofone preliminary self-paced reading experiment are reported. The results of the questionnaire experimentshowed that the lower-proficiency Japanese EFL learners were more likely to accept ungrammatical sentencesin English compared to the higher-proficiency learners. The results of the self-paced reading experimentindicated that the reading time difference between ungrammatical sentences and their grammaticalcounterparts was significant for one native English speaker but not for two Japanese EFL learners. It issuggested that the “grammatical illusion” effect (i.e., erroneous acceptance of ungrammatical sentences) insecond language learners is more likely to be observed when their proficiency is lower, and possibly thatsecond language learners can accept ungrammatical sentences during their real-time processing. We discussa new approach to second language acquisition from the perspective of the grammatical illusionphenomenon.

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