Limits on expectation-based processing: Use of grammatical aspect for co-reference in L2

Theres Grüter, Hannah Rohde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines the use of discourse-level information to create expectations about reference in real-time processing, testing whether patterns previously observed among native speakers of English generalize to non-native speakers. Findings from a visual world eye-tracking experiment show that native (L1, N=53) but not non-native (L2,N=52) listeners' proactive coreference expectations are modulated by grammatical aspect in transfer-of-possession events. Results from an offline judgment task show these L2participants did not differ from L1 speakers in their interpretation of aspect marking on transfer-of-possession predicates in English, indicating it is not lack of linguistic knowledge but utilization of this knowledge in real-time processing that distinguishes the groups. English proficiency, although varying substantially within the L2 group, did not modulate L2 listeners' use of grammatical aspect for reference processing. These findings contribute to the broader endeavor of delineating the role of prediction in human language processing in general, and in the processing of discourse-level information among L2 users in particular.
Original languageEnglish
JournalApplied Psycholinguistics
Early online date9 Nov 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Nov 2020


  • prediction
  • expectations
  • aspect
  • reference
  • eye-tracking


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