Sarah Von Grebmer Zu Wolfsthurn

Does your native language matter? Neural correlates of typological similarity in non-native production

  • Abstract

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Keywords: typological similarity, non-native production, cross-linguistic influence, P300 ERP effect, late language learners

Cross-linguistic influence (CLI) and typological similarity are key features in multilingual language processing. Here, we study whether CLI effects in language production are more pronounced in typologically similar vs. dissimilar languages in late language learners. In a picture-naming task, we manipulated gender congruency and cognate status as indices for CLI in a group of Italian learners of Spanish and a group of German learners of Spanish. Further, we explored modulations of P300 amplitudes indexing inhibitory control. Behaviourally, we observed effects of CLI, but not of typological similarity. At the neural level, P300 amplitudes were modulated by CLI effects. However, we did not find evidence for a typological similarity effect on P300 amplitudes. Therefore, our results suggest a limited role of typological similarity. This study has crucial implications for nonnative language production mechanisms in light of the similarity between the native and the non-native language.

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