UCL Psychology and Language Sciences


Linguistics Seminar Talk - Onur Özsoy

28 May 2024, 10:00 am–12:00 pm

Linguistics seminar

Proficiency and cognitive skills modulate Turkish monolinguals’ and heritage speakers’ aspect processing and comprehension.

Event Information

Open to



Alina Konradt


Chandler House
2 Wakefield Street
United Kingdom

Title: Proficiency and cognitive skills modulate Turkish monolinguals’ and heritage speakers’ aspect processing and comprehension.


Introduction. We explore the incremental processing of grammatical aspect in Turkish among monolinguals and bilingual heritage speakers, replicating recent Visual World Paradigm (VWP) eye-tracking studies that demonstrated incremental sub-word level processing in monolingual English, Russian, and Spanish (Minor et al., 2022, 2023). Additionally, we ask whether aspectual distinctions will be recognized by heritage speakers of Turkish who have shown reduced sensitivity to TAM-morphology in previous studies (Arslan et al., 2017; Coşkun Kunduz, 2018). We included language proficiency (C-tests and self-rating assessment) and processing speed (WAIS-IV subtest) to account for individual variation.

Methods. We conducted a picture selection task and VWP eye-tracking using the same design as Minor et al. (2022, 2023). Twenty-five bilingual heritage speakers and 28 monolingual speakers saw images of completed and ongoing events side by side. There were 24 critical stimuli sentences in two conditions (Perfective and Imperfective), and 20 unrelated fillers. After each item, participants selected the image that corresponded to the sentence.

Results. Monolinguals achieved 95.5% mean accuracy (SD=1.8%) and heritage speakers 89.9% (SD=3.2%). Binomial Generalized Linear Mixed-Effects models (bGLMM) found significant effects of Aspect (β=-2.1, SE=0.7, p<0.01) and Proficiency (β=0.1, SE=0.05, p<0.05). Accuracy drops in the perfective condition compared to the imperfective condition. Cluster-based permutation analysis confirmed incremental processing of aspectual information but showed a reduced effect in heritage speakers compared to monolinguals.

Discussion. Monolingual and heritage speakers process and comprehend overt marking in the imperfective better than the default unmarked perfective. This study broadens our understanding of incremental processing in heritage speakers who show more variance than monolinguals, explained by individual proficiency levels and processing speed.

About the Speaker

Onur Özsoy

at Leibniz-Centre General Linguistics (ZAS)

More about Onur Özsoy