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Investigating effects of L1 influence and phrase type on L2 processing of contextualized phraseological units – A self-paced reading experiment


  • Marcus Olofsson

Summary, in English

This essay investigates the online L2 processing of restricted collocations and figurative idioms. Earlier research has shown there to be a difference in how these word combinations are processed depending on a variety of factors. In this study a self-paced reading experiment is administered to 15 second language learners of English (L1 Swedish) where their reading time is measured by DMDX software. I look for differences in reading time depending on what type of condition the word combinations adhere to. Four critical conditions are tested, namely: congruent restricted collocations, incongruent restricted collocations, congruent figurative idioms and incongruent figurative idioms. The test items consist of 12 verb + object noun word combinations per condition. An additional 12 items consisting of infelicitous verb + object noun word combinations are also tested to serve as a base line. All the test items are incorporated into sentences. The participants are presented with these sentences segment-by-segment using DMDX software. They are also presented with 60 fillers which consist of randomly selected sentences where none of the segments presented adhere to any of the conditions tested. Although some earlier research observed differences in processing cost between different phraseological conditions, in this study no statistically significant differences were observed for mean reading times cross the four critical conditions. The results yielded by the experiment in this study show that there might be more to processing cost of collocations and idioms than previously disclosed.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Bachelor's degree


  • Languages and Literatures


  • Henrik Gyllstad (Dr)