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Past tense grammaticality judgment and production in non-native and stressed native English speakers

This paper explores whether the poor mastery of morphosyntax exhibited by second language (L2) learners can be tied to difficulties with non-syntactic processing. Specifically, we examine whether problems with English regular and irregular past tense are related to poor L2 phonological ability and lexical access, respectively. In Experiment 1, L2 learners showed poorer past tense mastery than native English speakers in grammaticality judgment and production tasks. L2 phonological ability was positively correlated with correct performance on regular verbs and negatively with unmarked production. L2 lexical access was positively correlated with correct performance on irregular verbs, and negatively with overregularization production. Experiment 2 simulated these difficulties in native English speakers by placing them under phonological processing (noise) or lexical access (deadline) stress. Noise selectively impacted regular verbs in grammaticality judgment but impacted all verb types in production. Deadline pressure impacted irregular verbs while sparing regular verbs across both tasks. Thus, non-syntactic processing difficulties can have specific impacts on morphosyntactic performance in both non-native and native English speakers.

from Bilingualism: Language and Cognition


Factors Affecting Accuracy of Past Tense Production in Children With Specific Language Impairment And Their Typically Developing Peers: The Influence of Verb Transitivity, Clause Location, and Sentence Type

Conclusions: Increased syntactic difficulty decreases use of morphology for all children, supporting the hypothesis that processing demands influence morphological accuracy. MLU-matched children, but not children with SLI, were more affected by changes in linguistic complexity. Further work on age-related changes in sentence production is necessary.

from the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research