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L2 effects on L1 event conceptualization patterns
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for Research on Bilingualism.
Dept. of Linguistics, Ohio University.
2011 (English)In: Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, ISSN 1366-7289, E-ISSN 1469-1841, Vol. 14, no 1, 47-59 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The finding that speakers of aspect languages encode event endpoints to a lesser extent than do speakers of non-aspect languages has led to the hypothesis that there is a relationship between grammatical aspect and event conceptualization (e.g., von Stutterheim and Nüse, 2003). The present study concerns L1 event conceptualization in 40 L1 Spanish – L2 Swedish bilinguals (all near-native speakers of Swedish). Spanish and Swedish differ as regards grammatical aspect: Whereas Swedish lacks this grammatical category, Spanish conveys aspect through verbal morphology and periphrasis. The principal aim of the study was to explore the relationship between event conceptualization patterns and proficiency with aspectual contrasts. The participants were asked to provide oral L1 Spanish descriptions of video clips projecting motion events with different degrees of endpoint orientation (see von Stutterheim, 2003). In addition, they took a grammaticality judgment test concerning verb and gender agreement, verbal clitics and aspectual contrasts. Compared with baseline data from monolingual Spanish speakers, the results on endpoint encoding show that the bilinguals mention the endpoints of motion events to a higher degree than the Spanish control group does. Moreover, it was shown that the weaker the bilinguals’ discrimination of aspectual errors on the grammaticality judgement test, the more prone they were to encoding endpoints. This result consequently furthers the hypothesis about the interconnectedness between grammatical aspect and event conceptualization. It was suggested that this finding indicate that the bilinguals are influenced by the Swedish-like tendency to attend to the boundedness rather than the ongoingness of events.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Cambridge University Press , 2011. Vol. 14, no 1, 47-59 p.
Keyword [en]
event conceptualization, bilingualism, grammatical aspect, thinking for speaking, linguistic relativity
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
Spanish
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-26929DOI: 10.1017/S1366728910000180ISI: 000285979800004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-26929DiVA: diva2:211872
Note

authorCount :2

Available from: 2009-04-20 Created: 2009-04-20 Last updated: 2017-12-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Conceptualización de eventos en español y en sueco: Estudios sobre hablantes monolingües y bilingües
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Conceptualización de eventos en español y en sueco: Estudios sobre hablantes monolingües y bilingües
2009 (Spanish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[en]
Event conceptualization in Spanish and Swedish : Studies on monolingual and bilingual speakers
Abstract [en]

This thesis deals with language-specific patterns in the selection and organization of information (i.e., conceptualization) reflected in the expression of events by monolingual and bilingual speakers of Spanish and Swedish. Previous research on language specificity in event conceptualization shows that speakers of languages with grammatical aspect exhibit fine-grained event segmentation and deictic temporal linkage patterns, whereas speakers of non-aspect languages resort to coarse-grained segmentation patterns and anaphoric linkage. This finding has led to the hypothesis that grammatical aspect induces specific event conceptualization patterns. The overall aim of the current thesis is, first, to test this hypothesis on Spanish and Swedish, and second, to extend this line of research to the domain of bilingualism. The thesis is based on four individual studies: Study I examines monolingual speakers of Spanish and Swedish. The results show that event conceptualization in these languages patterns with the dichotomy +/- grammatical aspect; Study II explores the relationship between endpoint encoding patterns and proficiency with aspectual contrasts in the Spanish of Spanish-Swedish bilinguals. The findings show that the less Spanish-like a participant’s endpoint encoding frequencies are, the less sensitive he/she is to aspectual contrasts; Study III explores the degree to which language-specific patterns of segmentation and temporal linking of events are fused/separated in Spanish-Swedish bilinguals. The results show that whereas the bilinguals resort to an event segmentation pattern that is midway between the Spanish fine-grained patterns and the Swedish coarse-grained patterns, they exhibit nativelike temporal linking patterns in both Spanish and Swedish; Study IV contextualizes some of the author’s studies from a general viewpoint, with the intention of illustrating the fruitfulness of extending the research on event conceptualization to the domain of bilingualism.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies, Stockholm University, 2009. 52 p.
Keyword
aspect, bilingualism, conceptualization, events, linguistic relativity, Spanish, Swedish, thinking for speaking
National Category
Specific Languages
Research subject
Spanish
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-26938 (URN)978-91-7155-853-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2009-06-05, hörsal 3, hus B, Universitetsvägen 10, Stockholm, 10:00 (Spanish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2012-03-09 Created: 2009-04-20 Last updated: 2012-03-09Bibliographically approved

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