Sensitivity to event structure in passives supports deep processing in L1 and L2

Katrina Geraghty*, Nino Grillo, Shayne Sloggett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


A key question in second language research is whether native (L1) and non-native (L2)
sentence processing are fundamentally different. Recent L1 processing research has questioned the long-held assumption that passives are harder to process than actives: passive complexity appears to be determined by event structure (Paolazzi, Grillo, Alexiadou, & Santi, 2019; Paolazzi et al., 2021). We replicate these results with a different method (maze task); only passives of states appear to be more difficult to process than actives, inconsistent with a good-enough account. We also present evidence that L2 learners are capable of recruiting similarly nuanced processing mechanisms in understanding passives. L2 learners display the same interaction of event structure and passivization. Taken together, the results appear inconsistent
with shallow processing accounts of both L1 and L2 processing.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication17th Generative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition (GASLA17) Proceedings
Number of pages41
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2024
EventGenerative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition (GASLA17)

- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, United States
Duration: 2 May 20244 May 2024
Conference number: 17th


ConferenceGenerative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition (GASLA17)

Country/TerritoryUnited States

Bibliographical note

This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the University’s Research Publications and Open Access policy.

Cite this