The present study seeks to further our understanding of the relationship between one general cognitive system, Executive Function (EF), and Spanish L2 online processing of clitic placement errors in the object clitic + finite verb construction involving the pronouns lo, la, los, las, le and les. EF is a complex neuropsychological construct whose definition includes the notion of mental flexibility, the ability to filter interfering information, as well as practice goal-directed behaviours (Ardila, 2008). While there is considerable research regarding the role of EF in native language processing (e.g., Biegler, Crowther & Martin, 2008; Ye & Zhou, 2009), little is known about the relationship between EF and adult L2 processing (e.g., Bialystok & Feng, 2009; Hernandez & Meschyan, 2006), particularly that of morphosyntax. Specifically, then, this study examines whether individual differences in EF abilities predict native English learners' perception of Spanish clitic placement errors when the erroneous word order mirrors English syntax.
Maria Fionda is an assistant professor of Hispanic linguistics at the University of Mississipi. She is a doctoral candidate and is expected to receive her PhD in Spanish from the University of Florida in 2014. Her research interests include Hispanic and cognitive linguistics and languages in contact.