The Korean Association for the Study of English Language and Linguistics

Current Issue

Korean Journal of English Language and Linguistics - Vol. 21

[ Article ]
Korea Journal of English Language and Linguistics - Vol. 21, No. 0, pp.617-635
Abbreviation: KASELL
ISSN: 1598-1398 (Print) 2586-7474 (Online)
Received 07 Jun 2021 Revised 10 Jul 2021 Accepted 25 Jul 2021

Cross-linguistic Differences of Temporal Information Processing Between L1 and L2 in Narrative Text Comprehension: An Eye-Tracking Study
JungEun Choi ; Moongee Jeon
(1st author) Lecturer, Faculty of Liberal Education, Seoul Nat’l University (
(corresponding author) Professor, Dept. of English Language & Literature, Konkuk University (

© 2021 KASELL All rights reserved
This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons License, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Funding Information ▼


The present study investigated cross-linguistic differences of temporal information processing between Korean as L1 and English as L2 in narratives. The study was based on the event-indexing model, which is one of the situation models in text comprehension. Recognizing that temporal information processing differs in Korean and English reading depending on the temporal shift markers such as a moment later, an hour later, and a day later, this study sought to explain the cause of the differences. An eye-tracking experimental method was employed for a closer investigation. The examination focused on the temporal shift markers and the subsequent critical event information contained in the target sentence. Measures of eye-dwell time for the respective information included the first pass gaze duration, the regressions into the information, and the second pass gaze duration. The results indicated that a significant difference between L1 and L2 occurred in the processing of the temporal shift markers. While L1 readers read the temporal information gradually slower as the distance of the temporal shift increased, L2 readers read the temporal marker of an hour later the slowest. The results supported that the processing of temporal information differs between L1 and L2, and that L2 proficiency is a crucial variable for L2 successful situation model construction.

Keywords: situation model, temporal information, narratives, eye-tracking, Korean learners of English


This work was supported by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2018S1A5B5A07074313).

1. Anderson, A., S. C. Garrod and A. J. Sanford. 1983. The accessibility of pronominal antecedents as a function of episode shifts in narrative text. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 35A(3), 427-440.
2. Bialystok, E. 2001. Bilingualism in Development. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
3. Choi, J. 2020. The influence of L1 and L2 reading proficiency on situation model construction. Manuscript submitted for publication.
4. Dowty, D. R. 1986. The effects of aspectual class on the temporal structure of discourse: Semantics or pragmatics? Linguistics and Philosophy 9(1), 37-61.
5. Ericsson, K. A. and W. Kintsch. 1995. Long-term working memory. Psychological Review 102(2), 211-245.
6. Fleischman, S. 1990. Tense and Narrativity: From Medieval Performance to Modern Fiction. London: Routledge.
7. Gernsbacher, M. A. 1990. Language Comprehension as Structure Building. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
8. Grabe, W. 2009. Reading in a Second Language. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
9. Graesser, A. C., M. Singer and T. Trabasso. 1994. Constructing inferences during narrative text comprehension. Psychological Review 101, 371-395.
10. Hopper, P. J. 1979. Aspect and foregrounding in discourse. In T. Givón, ed., Syntax and Semantics: Discourse and Syntax, Vol. 12, 213-241. New York: Academic Press.
11. Johnson-Laird, P. N. 1983. Mental Models: Towards a Cognitive Science of Language, Inference and Consciousness. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.
12. Kendeou, P., P. van den Broek, M. J. White and J. Lynch. 2007. Comprehension in preschool and early elementary children: Skill development and strategy interventions. In D. S. McNamara, ed., Reading Comprehension Strategies, 27-45. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
13. Kintsch, W. 1988. The role of knowledge in discourse comprehension: A construction-integration model. Psychological Review 95(2), 163-182.
14. Kintsch, W. 1998. Comprehension: A Paradigm for Cognition. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
15. Morishima, Y. 2013. Allocation of limited cognitive resources during text comprehension in a second language. Discourse Processes 50, 577-597.
16. McNerney, M. W., K. A. Goodwin and G. A. Radvansky. 2011. A novel study: A situation model analysis of reading times. Discourse Processes 48(7), 453-474.
17. O'Brien, E. J., M. L. Rizzella, J. E. Albrecht and J. G. Halleran. 1998. Updating a situation model: A memory-based text processing view. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition 24(5), 1200-1210.
18. O’Rourke, P. and M. F. Bunting. 2018. The cognitive underpinnings of mental model construction in L1 and L2. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 7(4), 801-807.
19. Pettijohn, K. A. and G. A. Radvansky. 2016. Narrative event boundaries, reading times, and expectation. Memory & Cognition 44(7), 1064-1075.
20. Radvansky, G. A. and D. E. Copeland. 2010. Reading times and the detection of event shift processing. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition 36(1), 210-216.
21. Rayner, K. 1998. Eye movements in reading and information processing: 20 years of research. Psychological Bulletin 124(3), 372-422.
22. Rinck, M. and U. Weber. 2003. Who when where: An experimental test of the event-indexing model. Memory & Cognition 31(8), 1284-1292.
23. Segalowitz, N. S. and M. Hébert. 1990. Phonological recoding in the first and second language reading of skilled bilinguals. Language Learning 40(4), 503-538.
24. Speer, N. K. and J. M. Zacks. 2005. Temporal changes as event boundaries: Processing and memory consequences of narrative time shifts. Journal of Memory and Language 53(1), 125-140.
25. Takaki, S. 2010. Investigating EFL learners' mental representations with the verb-clustering test. JLTA Journal 13, 163-175.
26. Takaki, S. 2011. Effects of situational continuity on reading time of Japanese EFL learners. KATE Journal 25, 53-62.
27. Therriault, D. J. and M. Rinck. 2007. Multidimensional situation models. In F. Schmalhofer and C. A. Perfetti, eds., Higher Level Language Processes in the Brain: Inference and Comprehension Processes, 311-327. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
28. van den Broek, P. and C. A. Espin. 2012. Connecting cognitive theory and assessment: Measuring individual differences in reading comprehension. School Psychology Review 41(3), 315-325.
29. van Dijk, T. A. and W. Kintsch. 1983. Strategies of Discourse Comprehension. New York, NY: Academic Press.
30. Xianle, X. 2011. A Study of the Effects of Narrative Time Shifts on L2 Learners' Reading Comprehension Processes (Unpublished master's thesis). Ningbo University, Zhejiang, China.
31. Zwaan, R. A. 1996. Processing narrative time shift. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition 22(5), 1196-1207.
32. Zwaan, R. A. and C. M. Brown. 1996. The influence of language proficiency and comprehension skill on situation-model construction. Discourse Processes 21(3), 289-327.
33. Zwaan, R. A., M. C. Langston and A. C. Graesser. 1995. The construction of situation models in narrative comprehension: An event-indexing model. Psychological Science 6(5), 292-297.
34. Zwaan, R. A., J. P. Magliano and A. C. Graesser. 1995. Dimensions of situation model construction in narrative comprehension. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition 21(2), 386-397.
35. Zwaan, R. A. and G. A. Radvansky. 1998. Situation models in language comprehension and memory. Psychological Bulletin 123(2), 162-185.
36. Zwaan, R. A. and D. N. Rapp. 2006. Discourse comprehension. In M. A. Gernsbacher and M. J. Traxler, eds., Handbook of Psycholinguistics, 725-764. San Diego, CA: Elsevier.