in: Synergy II: Linguistics, Ayşe Selmin Söylemez,Alper Kumcu, Editor, Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., Berlin, pp.77-99, 2021
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Author Note The present study comprises the data that are gathered for the unpublished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.