Structural interference from the source language: a psycholinguistic investigation of syntactic processes in non-professional translation
Maier, Robert M
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This thesis explores cross-linguistic structural phenomena in the language production of bilinguals in the specific context of translation. In recent years, cross-linguistic phenomena on the level of syntax have become an increasingly prominent issue in psycholinguistic research, and are a well-known feature in language productions of multilinguals, from language learners to translators. The work presented in this thesis takes current perspectives from psycholinguistics (discussed in Chapter 2) as its foundation; impulses from research on bilingualism and advanced Second Language Acquisition (Chapter 3) and Translation and Interpreting (Chapter 4) allow to develop a specific approach to translation as a special instance of bilingual production, elementary concepts of which are available to all bilingual speakers. On this basis, an experimental paradigm for psycholinguistic research into structural phenomena of translation is developed and refined (Chapters 5 and 6) that allows to access both off-line and on-line data from simple text-to-speech translations. Experiment 1 (Chapter 5) confirms the existence of priming-like, on-line facilitation in translations where source and target sentences are structurally matched. Experiment 2 (Chapter 6) obtains a structural priming effect from sources where several target structures are available, and refines material specifications for the experimental paradigm and analysis techniques for on-line data. In Experiment 3 (Chapter 7), off-line structural priming is observed in translations into and out of L2. The corresponding on-line facilitation of primed productions, however, is discovered only in translations from L1 to L2, a finding that agrees with predictions from research in L2 acquisition and translation. On this basis, Experiment 3 is repeated in Experiment 4 (Chapter 8) with a modification to materials so that an additional restructuring operation becomes necessary. Although structural priming is still evident in translations from L1 to L2, on-line facilitation is not, suggesting that syntactic operations do not add to each other but are processed in one go. Results are discussed comprehensively (in Chapter 9) with respect to their entailments for adjacent fields of research, in particular with a view to theories of syntactic production and directionality in translation. Several possibilities for future applications of the approach are proposed.