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Language as product and process

What mechanisms and strategies form the basis for advanced competence in translation and foreign language processing? The SPROSS project investigates this question using process and product data.

About the project

We study the processing of translations and foreign language production - in view of the assumption that two languages are active simultaneously and disturb production.

The SPROSS project investigates cross-linguistically divergent system issues that either appear to be particularly hard to keep apart or cause non-optimal, often over-explicit production units, whether in (advanced) foreign language production or translation into L1. Relevant topics concern lexical divergence/convergence, such as for example false friends, as much as structural similarities and differences.


1. The translation process:

We study competence in the sense of automatization of re-organization/re-structuring strategies. Our studies are based on behavioral data elicited in experimental settings with eye tracking and keylogging (Translog II, see and e-prime ( Our aim is to describe mechanisms and strategies that are in particular need of training for professional competence. Through close studies of behavioral data we hope to get Insights that may guide us to establish relevant ways to regulate the activation of each of the Languages involved in the translation task.

we are at present working on three linguistically interesting topics:

Procedural topics:

  • Possessives in English-Scandinavian contrast - only partly overlapping systems. Extended to other European Languages.
  • Gerund-participial structures in English, the inferences and strategies needed to arrive at idiomatic solutions in Norwegian.

Conceptual topic:

  • Optional and obligatory explicitation in novice-professional contrast.

2. Advanced Foreign Language competence, the POSS-project

This Project has as its key goal to study the ability to restructure and automatize foreign language knowledge. We focus on the different systems of possessive pronouns and determiners across Languages (see also topic a) in sub-Project 1). The different systems are found to represent Challenges in L2 production and comprehension, even with highly proficient L2 speakers.

The investigation is psycholinguistic. An overview of the different systems in a number of (Germanic, Romance and Slavic) languages is submitted for publication (OsLa 2017). We test native and non-native speakers' command of the systems, and have so far conducted preliminary tests on German learners of Norwegian and Norwegian learners of French. Psycholinguistic tests are being developed using eye tracking in a Visual World Experiment. This experiment will be conducted on selected groups of L2 learners in order for us to get a better understanding of learners' automatization of the cognitive restructuring needed for native-like responses to the language data.

Published Apr. 18, 2016 10:57 AM - Last modified Jan. 16, 2017 11:46 AM