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CROSSLINGUISTIC DIFFERENCES IN IMPLICIT LANGUAGE LEARNING

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 July 2014

Janny H. C. Leung*
Affiliation:
The University of Hong Kong
John N. Williams
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
*
*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Janny Leung, School of English, CRT735, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong. E-mail: jannyleung@hku.hk

Abstract

We report three experiments that explore the effect of prior linguistic knowledge on implicit language learning. Native speakers of English from the United Kingdom and native speakers of Cantonese from Hong Kong participated in experiments that involved different learning materials. In Experiment 1, both participant groups showed evidence of learning a mapping between articles and noun animacy. In Experiment 2, neither group showed learning of a mapping between articles and a linguistically anomalous concept (the number of capital letters in an English word or that of strokes in a Chinese character). In Experiment 3, the Chinese group, but not the English group, showed evidence of learning a mapping between articles and a concept derived from the Chinese classifier system. It was concluded that first language knowledge affected implicit language learning and that implicit learning, at least when natural language learning is concerned, is subject to constraints and biases.

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Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2014 

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