“He's pregnant": Simulating the confusing case of gender pronoun errors in L2 English
Tsoukala, C., Frank, S. L., & Broersma, M.
“He's pregnant": Simulating the confusing case of gender pronoun errors in L2 English. In Proceedings of the 39th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2017)
(pp. 3392-3397). Austin, TX, USA: Cognitive Science Society.
Even advanced Spanish speakers of second language English tend to confuse the pronouns ‘he’ and ‘she’, often without even noticing their mistake (Lahoz, 1991). A study by AntónMéndez (2010) has indicated that a possible reason for this error is the fact that Spanish is a pro-drop language. In order to test this hypothesis, we used an extension of Dual-path (Chang, 2002), a computational cognitive model of sentence production, to simulate two models of bilingual speech production of second language English. One model had Spanish (ES) as a native language, whereas the other learned a Spanish-like language that used the pronoun at all times (non-pro-drop Spanish, NPD_ES). When tested on L2 English sentences, the bilingual pro-drop Spanish model produced significantly more gender pronoun errors, confirming that pronoun dropping could indeed be responsible for the gender confusion in natural language use as well.