The on-line application of binding principle A in English as a second language

C. Felser, M. Sato, Nick Bertenshaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report the results from two experiments investigating proficient Japanese-speaking learners' processing of reflexive object pronouns in English as a second language (L2). Experiment 1 used a timed grammaticality judgement task to assess learners' sensitivity to binding Principle A under processing pressure, and Experiment 2 investigated the time-course of reflexive anaphor resolution during L2 reading using the eye-movement monitoring technique. Taken together, our results show that despite having demonstrated native-like knowledge of reflexive binding in corresponding untimed tasks, the learners processed English reflexives differently from native speakers in that they took into consideration a matching discourse-prominent but binding-theoretically inappropriate antecedent when first encountering a reflexive. This suggests that unlike what has been reported in corresponding monolingual processing research (Sturt, 2003), initial antecedent search in L2 English is not constrained by binding Principle A.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485-502
Number of pages18
JournalBilingualism: Language and Cognition
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2009


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