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Insights into the Processing of Collocations during L2 English Reading: Evidence from Eye Movements

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posted on 2024-01-26, 10:24 authored by Hui Li, Kevin Paterson, Kayleigh Warrington, Xiaolu Wang

We report an eye movement experiment that investigates the effects of collocation strength and contextual predictability on the reading of collocative phrases by L2 English readers. Thirty-eight Chinese English as foreign language learners (EFL) read 40 sentences, each including a specific two-word phrase that was either a strong (e.g., black coffee) or weak (e.g., bitter coffee) adjective-noun collocation and was either highly predictable or unpredictable from the previous sentence context. Eye movement measures showed that L2 reading times for the collocative phrases were sensitive to both collocation strength and contextual predictability. However, an interaction effect between these factors, which appeared relatively late in the eye movement record, additionally revealed that contextual predictability more strongly influenced time spent reading weak compared with strong collocations. This was most likely because the greater familiarity of strong collocations facilitated their integration, even in the absence of strong contextual constraint. We discuss the findings in terms of the value of collocations in second language learning.

Funding

Major Project of National Social Science Fund of China (14ZDB155)

Humanities and Social Science Foundation grant from the Education Ministry of the People’s Republic of China (no. 19YJC740027)

Teaching Reform Research Project of NingboTech University (NBTJG-202110

History

Author affiliation

School of Psychology and Vision Science, University of Leicester

Version

  • VoR (Version of Record)

Published in

Frontiers in Psychology

Volume

13

Publisher

Frontiers Media

issn

1664-1078

Copyright date

2022

Available date

2024-01-26

Language

en

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