Sophie Slaats


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  • González Alonso, J., Alemán Bañón, J., DeLuca, V., Miller, D., Pereira Soares, S. M., Puig-Mayenco, E., Slaats, S., & Rothman, J. (2020). Event related potentials at initial exposure in third language acquisition: Implications from an artificial mini-grammar study. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 56: 100939. doi:10.1016/j.jneuroling.2020.100939.


    The present article examines the proposal that typology is a major factor guiding transfer selectivity in L3/Ln acquisition. We tested first exposure in L3/Ln using two artificial languages (ALs) lexically based in English and Spanish, focusing on gender agreement between determiners and nouns, and between nouns and adjectives. 50 L1 Spanish-L2 English speakers took part in the experiment. After receiving implicit training in one of the ALs (Mini-Spanish, N = 26; Mini-English, N = 24), gender violations elicited a fronto-lateral negativity in Mini-English in the earliest time window (200–500 ms), although this was not followed by any other differences in subsequent periods. This effect was highly localized, surfacing only in electrodes of the right-anterior region. In contrast, gender violations in Mini-Spanish elicited a broadly distributed positivity in the 300–600 ms time window. While we do not find typical indices of grammatical processing such as the P600 component, we believe that the between-groups differential appearance of the positivity for gender violations in the 300–600 ms time window reflects differential allocation of attentional resources as a function of the ALs’ lexical similarity to English or Spanish. We take these differences in attention to be precursors of the processes involved in transfer source selection in L3/Ln.

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