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The role of the second language in third language acquisition: the case of Germanic syntax
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of French, Italian and Classical Languages.
2007 (English)In: Second Language Research, ISSN 0267-6583, Vol. 23, no 4, 459-484 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this study of the placement of sentence negation in third language acquisition (L3), we argue that there is a qualitative difference between the acquisition of a true second language (L2) and the subsequent acquisition of an L3. Although there is considerable evidence for L2 influence on vocabulary acquisition in L3, not all researchers believe that such influence generalizes to morphosyntactic aspects of the grammar. For example, Håkansson et al. (2002) introduce the Developmentally Moderated Transfer Hypothesis (DMTH), which incorporates transfer in Processability Theory (PT). They argue against syntactic transfer from L2 to L3. The present study presents counter-evidence to this hypothesis from two groups of learners with different L1s and L2s acquiring Swedish or Dutch as L3. The evidence clearly indicates that syntactic structures are more easily transferred from L2 than from L1 in the initial state of L3 acquisition. The two groups behave significantly differently as to the placement of negation, a difference that can be attributed to the L2 knowledge of the learners in interaction with the typological relationship between the L2 and the L3.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Edward Arnold , 2007. Vol. 23, no 4, 459-484 p.
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
Bilingualism Research
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-8848DOI: 10.1177/0267658307080557ISI: 000251403100003OAI: diva2:175367
Available from: 2008-01-14 Created: 2008-01-14 Last updated: 2011-02-03Bibliographically approved

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Bardel, Camilla
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Department of French, Italian and Classical Languages
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