Incidental Learning of Gender Agreement in L2

Denhovska, Nadiia orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-3654-5892 and Serratrice, Ludovica (2017) Incidental Learning of Gender Agreement in L2. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 46 . pp. 1187-1211. ISSN 0090-6905

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Incidental learning of grammar has been an area of interest for many decades; nevertheless, existing research has primarily focused on artificial or semi-artificial languages. The present study examines the incidental acquisition of the grammar of a natural language by exposing adult speakers of an ungendered L1 (English) to the gender agreement patterns in Russian (a language that was novel to the learners). Both receptive and productive knowledge and the mediating role of working memory (WM) in learning were measured. Speakers of the ungendered language were able to successfully acquire receptive but not productive grammatical knowledge in a new language under incidental exposure. WM was engaged in production but not in a grammaticality judgment task in the incidental learning condition, indicating cognitive effort during knowledge retrieval.

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