Syntactic Ambiguity Resolution and Task Influence by Korean Learners of English

Jung Hyun Lim 1 ,
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1Konkuk University
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ⓒ Copyright 2017 Language Education Institute, Seoul National University. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Received: Jun 30, 2017 ; Revised: Aug 14, 2017 ; Accepted: Aug 24, 2017

Published Online: Aug 31, 2017


The present study investigates the questions of (a) how Korean speakers of learning English process locally ambiguous reduced relative clause during on-line comprehension and (b) whether/how task at hands changes second language (L2) processing patterns in ambiguity resolution. Participants read the locally ambiguous sentences that contain reduced relative clauses on a self-paced reading task. The stimuli sentences were manipulated with verb morphology, post-ambiguity cue, and different types of comprehension questions. The results showed that the L2 speakers were able to make use of both verb morphology and post-ambiguity cue information and that the sensitivity was influenced by the question types. The study suggests that the L2 learners are influenced by both verb morphology and cue information when resolving the ambiguity, and that reading goals significantly affects the process of ambiguity resolution. The findings are discussed in light of the good-enough (GE) language processing.

Keywords: sentence processing; good-enough processing; ambiguity resolution; task effects; reduced relative clause