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Japanese EFL learners’ sentence processing of conceptual plurality: An analysis focusing on reciprocal verbs



This study aimed to investigate how Japanese learners of English as a foreign language, whose first language does not have obligatory morphological number marking, process conceptual plurality. The targeted structure was reciprocal verbs, which require conceptual plurality to interpret their meanings correctly. The results of a sentence completion task confirmed that participants could use reciprocal verbs reciprocally in English. In a self-paced reading experiment, participants read sentences with reciprocal verbs and those with optionally transitive verbs (e.g., while the king and the queen kissed/left the baby read the book in the bed). There was no reading time delay for reciprocal verbs but a delay for optionally transitive verbs. Therefore, the participants succeeded in processing second language conceptual plurality in the online sentence comprehension task.


Corresponding author

ADDRESS FOR CORRESPONDENCE Yu Tamura, Faculty of Foreign Language Studies, Kansai University, 3-3-35 Yamate-cho, Suita-shi, Osaka, 564-8680, Japan. E-mail:


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Japanese EFL learners’ sentence processing of conceptual plurality: An analysis focusing on reciprocal verbs



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