The action dynamics of native and non-native speakers of English in processing active and passive sentences

Scott Crossley, Nicholas D. Duran, You Jin Kim, Tiffany Lester, Samuel Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This study investigates processing of passive and active constructions between native speakers (NS) and non-native speakers (NNS) of English using traditional on-line mechanisms such as response time in conjunction with techniques that capitalize on the parallel activation of distributed mental representations during online syntactic processing. In the current study, hand motions captured by a mouse-tracking system were used to index listeners’ cognitive processes while making commitments to different choice alternatives during the processing of English passive and active structures. During data collection, 57 NNS and 43 NS carried out an aural forced-choice picture identification task. Data analysis indicated differences and similarities between NS and NNS participants such that NS participants are faster at responding to passive and active stimuli, travel less distance, and make fewer directional changes when compared to NNS participants. However, all participants showed similar trends for passive processing, suggesting comparable difficulties in processing passive constructions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-85
Number of pages28
JournalLinguistic Approaches to Bilingualism
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2 2020


  • Action dynamics
  • Mouse tracking
  • Second language acquisition
  • Syntactic processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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