ABSTRACT

This study examined the scope of lexical planning in second language (L2) production using the semantic blocking effect and its associated patterns of ERPs. The semantic blocking effects—as measured by longer response times in picture naming tasks and often interpreted as a reflection of difficulty in lexical access—have been observed when all objects of a set belong to an identical semantic category than diverse categories. Two experiments were conducted to observe patterns of ERPs associated with the semantic blocking effects (i.e., semantic context effects) by using two types of subject nounphrases that include two nouns, a head noun modified by a prepositional phrase (PP) (e.g., the dog above the flower is red) and a conjoined noun phrase (CNP) (e.g., the dog and the flower are both red). The first noun (homogeneous vs. heterogeneous) in the set of pictures was manipulated in Experiment 1, and the second noun in Experiment 2. The ERP results showed that semantic blocking effects were observed in both experiments, in contrast to previous findings for native speaker production, providing no evidence for incremental planning in L2 sentence production. Instead, different ERP patterns were found for the subject NP type (PP vs. CNP) in both experiments, showing that the lexical planning scope in L2 sentence production might vary according to functional phrases—i.e., the relation between two NPs composing the subject noun-phrases

KEYWORD

L2(second language) production, lexical planning, ERPs, semantic blocking effects

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