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date: 29 April 2017

Abstract and Keywords

Sentence comprehension draws on multiple levels of linguistic knowledge, including the phonological, orthographic, lexical, syntactic, and discoursal. This article focuses on the computational models of second language sentence processing. Understanding the computational mechanisms responsible for using this knowledge in real time provides basic insights into how language and the mind work. For a cognitive theory of second language acquisition, a better understanding of how the second language learner develops the capacity to process sentences fluently also has important implications for theories of acquisition and instruction. This article examines two perspectives on written sentence comprehension in the second language. The two approaches considered are syntax based and constraint based. The approaches make fundamentally different assumptions concerning the nature of linguistic representation and how the human speech processing mechanism uses this knowledge in online comprehension. The two perspectives also represent a basic division between formalist and functionalist/usage based approaches to second language learning and use.

Keywords: sentence comprehension, computational models, phonological, orthographic, lexical, syntactic

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