You are here: Home Publications Comprehending non-native speakers: Theory and evidence for adjustment in manner of processing

Comprehending non-native speakers: Theory and evidence for adjustment in manner of processing

Lev-Ari, S. (2015). Comprehending non-native speakers: Theory and evidence for adjustment in manner of processing. Frontiers in Psychology, 5: 1546. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01546.
Non-native speakers have lower linguistic competence than native speakers, which renders their language less reliable in conveying their intentions. We suggest that expectations of lower competence lead listeners to adapt their manner of processing when they listen to non-native speakers. We propose that listeners use cognitive resources to adjust by increasing their reliance on top-down processes and extracting less information from the language of the non-native speaker. An eye-tracking study supports our proposal by showing that when following instructions by a non-native speaker, listeners make more contextually-induced interpretations. Those with relatively high working memory also increase their reliance on context to anticipate the speaker’s upcoming reference, and are less likely to notice lexical errors in the non-native speech, indicating that they take less information from the speaker’s language. These results contribute to our understanding of the flexibility in language processing and have implications for interactions between native and non-native speakers

Supplementary materials

About MPI

This is the MPI

The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics is an institute of the German Max Planck Society. Our mission is to undertake basic research into the psychological,social and biological foundations of language. The goal is to understand how our minds and brains process language, how language interacts with other aspects of mind, and how we can learn languages of quite different types.

The institute is situated on the campus of the Radboud University. We participate in the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, and have particularly close ties to that institute's Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging. We also participate in the Centre for Language Studies. A joint graduate school, the IMPRS in Language Sciences, links the Donders Institute, the CLS and the MPI.

 

Street address
Wundtlaan 1
6525 XD Nijmegen
The Netherlands


Mailing address
P.O. Box 310
6500 AH Nijmegen
The Netherlands

Phone:   +31-24-3521911
Fax:        +31-24-3521213
E-mail:   


Public Outreach Officer
Charlotte Horn