Three decades of structural priming research: implications for syntactic representation, domain-specificity of syntax, and multilingualism
About thirty years ago, Kay Bock discovered structural priming, the tendency for speakers and listeners to recycle syntactic structures they have recently encountered. A recent meta-analysis of 70 published papers (Mahowald et al., 2017) shows that structural priming (as well as its enhancement by lexical overlap between prime and target sentence) is highly robust. Here, I look back at three decades of structural priming research, with a particular emphasis on the theoretical implications for syntactic representation, on the organization of the syntactic representations of multiples languages in multilinguals, and on the question of whether structural processing is domain-specific or is shared with other cognitive domains, such as music or math. I then look forward to an ongoing research line on the late acquisition of syntax in a second language. I will describe our account of this acquisition process, according to which syntactic representations start out as separate for each language but merge as the learner’s proficiency increases, and show the results of an artificial language learning study designed to test this account.
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12.00-13.00 Talk (Salle de conférences, LPL) by Robert Hartsuiker (University of Ghent, Belgium)