LingLang Lunch (3/19/2014): Shiri Lev Ari (Max Planck Institute, Nijmegen)

How expectations influence language processing, and their cognitive and social consequences: The case of processing the language of non-native speakers

Non-native language is less reliable in conveying the speakers’ intentions, and listeners know and expect that. I propose that these expectations of lower competence lead listeners to adjust their processing when listening to non-native speakers by increasing their reliance on top-down processes and sufficing with less detailed processing of the language, but only if they have the cognitive resources to do so. I will first show evidence supporting these claims, and then show that the adjustment to non-native speakers temporarily alters the way all language, including one’s own, is processed. I will end by showing one of the social consequences of the adjustment in processing – better perspective-taking when listening to non-native speakers.