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Processing grammatical evidentiality and time reference in Turkish heritage and monolingual speakers*

  • SEÇKİN ARSLAN (a1) (a2) (a3) (a4) (a5) (a6), DÖRTE DE KOK (a7) and ROELIEN BASTIAANSE (a8)

In the current study, we examined how adult heritage and monolingual speakers of Turkish process evidentiality (the linguistic expression of information source) through finite verb inflections and time reference, expressed on non-finite participles. A sentence-verification task was used to measure participants’ sensitivity to evidentiality and time-reference violations in Turkish. Our findings showed that the heritage speakers were less accurate and slower than the monolinguals in responding to both evidentiality and time-reference violations. Also, the heritage speakers made more errors and had longer RTs when responding to evidentiality violations as compared to time-reference violations. The monolinguals had longer RTs (and more accurate responses) to time reference than to evidentiality violations. This study shows that evidentiality is susceptible to incomplete acquisition in Turkish heritage speakers. It is suggested that the requirement for simultaneous processing at different linguistic levels makes the evidentiality markers vulnerable.

Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Mr. S. Arslan, M.A., M.Sc., Center for Language and Cognition (CLCG), Research Group Neurolinguistics, University of Groningen, PO Box 716, 9700 AS, Groningen, The Netherlands.
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We thank Pınar Arslan, Claudia Felser, Katrina Gaffney, Paul Slomp, and Margriet Zwiers for their help during different stages of this study. We are grateful to Ludovica Serratrice and the three anonymous BLC reviewers for their constructive feedback and comments on earlier versions of this paper. The first author is supported by an Erasmus Mundus grant for the International Doctorate for Experimental Approaches to Language and Brain’ (IDEALAB) by the European Commission under grant no <2012-1713/001-001-EMII EMJD>.

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Bilingualism: Language and Cognition
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