Morphological processing and individual frequency effects in L1 and L2 Spanish

Type: Article in Periodical
Author: Ezequiel M. Durand-López
Periodical Title: Lingua
Year of Publication: 2021
Volume: 257
Inclusive Pages: 103093
Brief Description: Surface frequency and proficiency modulate visual morphological processing in second language (L2) learners, but less is known about auditory morphological processing. Moreover, working memory (WM) affects morphosyntactic processing, but it is unclear whether it also modulates word structure processing. In the present study, Spanish monolinguals and beginner and advanced L2 learners of Spanish completed an auditory lexical decision task in Spanish containing verbs varying in morphological complexity, an individual lexical frequency task, and a working memory task. Beginner L2 learners needed more time to process infrequent morphologically complex words, but monolinguals and advanced L2 learners were unaffected by morphological complexity or surface frequency. Also, WM did not modulate morphological processing. Taken together, the findings suggest a dual-route mechanism at initial stages of L2 acquisition and a whole-word route for Spanish monolinguals and advanced L2 learners. The findings also support the extension of dual-route models to L2 populations and suggest that the selection of a morphological processing route results from linguistic rather than cognitive reasons.