Syntactic Priming Effects on Turkish-English Bilinguals' Production of Passive Structures

Arman Ergin S., Akal T.

in: Synergy II: Linguistics, Ayşe Selmin Söylemez,Alper Kumcu, Editor, Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., Berlin, pp.77-99, 2021

  • Publication Type: Book Chapter / Chapter Research Book
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Publisher: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc.
  • City: Berlin
  • Page Numbers: pp.77-99
  • Editors: Ayşe Selmin Söylemez,Alper Kumcu, Editor
  • Gazi University Affiliated: Yes


Syntactic Priming Effects on Turkish – English

Bilinguals’ Production of Passive Structures

Author Note The present study comprises the data that are gathered for the unpublished

MA thesis named “The effects of syntactic priming on Turkish English bilinguals’ pro-

duction of passive sentences” by Sena Arman Ergin.

Abstract Syntactic priming occurs when exposure to a particular linguistic structure

(prime sentence) affects the processing of the following (target sentence) utterance and

it has been used as a tool in analyzing cross-linguistic priming effects for some time.

The representation of syntactic information and whether syntax is shared or separate

in bilinguals, namely the organization of L1 – L2 syntactic information, are among

the widely studied topics through syntactic priming. The present study analyses the

effects of syntactic priming on the production of passive structure by 30 Turkish (L1) –

English (L2) bilinguals, aiming at determining if passive structure is shared between

these two languages. The procedure of the study includes picture description task, in

which participants and the researcher describe a picture each other one by one. 30

participants were divided into two groups by priming language (15 for Turkish priming,

15 for English priming). Also, each of these two groups was further divided into two

sections comprising 7 and 8 participants, due to priming type (active and passive). The

results showed that the direction of priming did not play a role in the production of

passives. However, it was also found out that priming was effective both for Turkish –

English and English – Turkish conditions. Hearing a passive Turkish sentence gave rise

to an increase in the production of passive utterances in English, and vice versa. This

finding provides evidence for shared syntax account for Turkish – English bilinguals.