Object pronouns in German L3 syntax: Evidence for the L2 status factor
2011 (English)In: Second language research, ISSN 0267-6583, E-ISSN 1477-0326, Vol. 27, no 1, 59-82 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Several studies on L3 lexicon, and recently also some on L3 syntax, have convincingly shown a qualitative difference between the acquisition of a true L2 and the subsequent acquisition of an L3. Some studies even indicate that L2 takes on a stronger role than L1 in the initial state of L3 syntax (e.g. Bardel and Falk, 2007; Rothman and Cabrelli Amaro, 2010). In this article we further investigate syntactic transfer from L1/L2 to L3 in learners at an intermediate level of proficiency in the target language. Data have been obtained from 44 learners of German as L3, testing the placement of object pronouns in both main and subordinate clauses in a grammaticality judgement/correction task (GJCT). The learners constitute two groups (both n = 22): One group has English as L1 and French as L2 and the other group has French as L1 and English as L2. This particular combination of background languages allows us to pinpoint the source of transfer, since object placement is pre-verbal in French and post-verbal in English, this being applied in both main and subordinate clauses. In target language (TL) German, however, the object placement varies between pre-verbal in the sub clause and post-verbal in the main clause. The two groups behave differently as to both acceptance and rejection of the test items (60 grammatical and ungrammatical main and sub clauses with object pronouns). This difference is significant and can be ascribed to their L2s, respectively. Our results thus show that the L2 transfers into the L3 even at an intermediate level, and on the basis of this we claim a strong role for the L2 status factor.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 27, no 1, 59-82 p.
third language acquisition, object pronouns, L2 status factor, transfer, German, French, English
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject Linguistics
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-50414DOI: 10.1177/0267658310386647ISI: 000285551200003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-50414DiVA: diva2:381282