Japanese EFL Learners’ Sentence Processing of Conceptual Plurality: An Analysis focusing on reciprocal verbs


This study aimed to investigate how Japanese EFL learners, 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 (SCT) 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 L2 conceptual plurality in the online sentence comprehension task.

Tamura, Y., Fukuta, J., Nishimura, Y., Harada, Y., Hara, K., & Kato, D. (2019). Japanese EFL learners’ sentence processing of conceptual plurality: An analysis focusing on reciprocal verbs. Applied Psycholinguistics, 40, 59–91. doi:10.1017/S0142716418000450 [Author Manuscript]