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Bidirectional cross-linguistic influence in event conceptualization? Expressions of Path among Japanese learners of English*



Typological differences in expressions of motion are argued to have consequences for event conceptualization. In SLA, studies generally find transfer of L1 expressions and accompanying event construals, suggesting resistance to the restructuring of event conceptualization. The current study tackles such restructuring in SLA within the context of bidirectional cross-linguistic influence, focusing on expressions of Path in English and Japanese. We probe the effects of lexicalization patterns on event construal by focusing on different Path components: Source, Via and Goal. Crucially, we compare the same speakers performing both in the L1 and L2 to ascertain whether the languages influence each other. We argue for the potential for restructuring, even at modest levels of L2 proficiency, by showing that not only do L1 patterns shape construal in the L2, but that L2 patterns may subtly and simultaneously broaden construal in the L1 within an individual learner.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Amanda Brown, Department of Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 13244,


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This research received technical and financial support from the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics and the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO; MPI 56–384, The Dynamics of Multilingual Processing, awarded to M. Gullberg and P. Indefrey). Riko Yasunaga and Erio Higashida provided assistance with transcriptions and coding. Three anonymous reviewers offered helpful comments and suggestions on a previous version of this article. All of these contributions are acknowledged with grateful thanks.



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