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  • 1.
    Abrahamsson, Niclas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for Research on Bilingualism.
    Age of onset and nativelike L2 ultimate attainment of morphosyntactic and phonetic intuition2012In: Studies in Second Language Acquisition, ISSN 0272-2631, E-ISSN 1470-1545, Vol. 34, no 2, p. 187-214Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Research has consistently shown there is a negative correlation between age of onset (AO) of acquisition and ultimate attainment (UA) of either pronunciation or grammar in a second language (L2). A few studies have indeed reported nativelike behavior in some postpuberty learners with respect to either phonetics/phonology or morphosyntax, a result that has sometimes been taken as evidence against the critical period hypothesis (CPH). However, in the few studies that have employed a wide range of linguistic tests and tasks, adult learners have not exhibited nativelike L2 proficiency across the board of measures, which, according to some, suggests that the hypothesis still holds. The present study investigated the relationship between AO and UA and the incidence of nativelikeness when measures of phonetic and grammatical intuition are combined. An additional aim was to investigate whether children and adults develop the L2 through fundamentally different brain mechanisms-namely, whether children acquire the language (more) implicitly as an interdependent whole, whereas adults learn it (more) explicitly as independent parts of a whole.

  • 2.
    Abrahamsson, Niclas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for Research on Bilingualism.
    Development and recoverability of L2 codas: A longitudinal study of Chinese/Swedish interphonology2003In: Studies in Second Language Acquisition, ISSN 0272-2631, E-ISSN 1470-1545, Vol. 25, no 3, p. 313-349Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This study deals with the development and recoverability of word-final codas in Chinese-Swedish interlanguage. The relation between consonant deletion and vowel epenthesis is investigated from both a developmental perspective and a grammatical-functional one. Longitudinal, conversational data from three Chinese beginner learners of Swedish were analyzed. First, it is shown that for these learners the acquisition of Swedish codas was U-shaped rather than linear such that they exhibited relatively high accuracy rates at early stages, lower accuracy rates at later stages, and again high accuracy rates at more advanced stages. It is also demonstrated that the epenthesis-deletion differential is closely related to second language proficiency in that the proportion of epenthesis to deletion errors increases over time. Furthermore, the data show that word-final codas that are relatively important for the retention of semantically relevant information generate lower overall frequencies of simplification and greater epenthesis-deletion proportions than codas containing information that is relatively recoverable from other segments or features in the context.

  • 3.
    Abrahamsson, Niclas
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for Research on Bilingualism.
    Hyltenstam, Kenneth
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for Research on Bilingualism.
    The robustness of aptitude effects in near-native second language acquisition2008In: Studies in Second Language Acquisition, ISSN 0272-2631, E-ISSN 1470-1545, Vol. 30, no 4, p. 481-509Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Results from a number of recent studies suggest that nativelike adult second language (L2) learners possess a high degree of language learning aptitude, the positive effects of which may have compensated for the negative effects of a critical period in these learners. According to the same studies, child learners seem to attain a nativelike command of the L2 regardless of high or low aptitude, which has led researchers to conclude that this factor plays no role in early acquisition. The present study investigates the L2 proficiency and language aptitude of 42 near-native L2 speakers of Swedish (i.e., individuals whom actual mother-tongue speakers of Swedish believe are native speakers). The results confirm previous research suggesting that a high degree of language aptitude is required if adult learners are to reach a L2 proficiency that is indistinguishable from that of native speakers. However, in contrast to previous studies, the present results also identify small yet significant aptitude effects in child SLA. Our findings lead us to the conclusions that the rare nativelike adult learners sometimes observed would all turn out to be exceptionally talented language learners with an unusual ability to compensate for maturational effects and, consequently, that their nativelikeness per se does not constitute a reason to reject the critical period hypothesis.

  • 4.
    Bardel, Camilla
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Language Education.
    Gudmundson, Anna
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of French, Italian and Classical Languages.
    Lindqvist, Christina
    Aspects of lexical sophistication in advanced learners' oral production vocabulary acquisition and use in l2 french and italian2012In: Studies in Second Language Acquisition, ISSN 0272-2631, E-ISSN 1470-1545, Vol. 34, no 2, p. 269-290Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article reports on the design and use of a profiler for lexical sophistication (i.e., use of advanced vocabulary), which was created to assess the lexical richness of intermediate and advanced Swedish second language (L2) learners' French and Italian. It discusses how teachers' judgments (TJs) of word difficulty can contribute to the methodology for lexical profiling and compares two methods, one purely frequency based and one modified on the basis of TJs of word difficulty. It has been suggested elsewhere that factors other than frequency play an important role in vocabulary acquisition. Here it is argued that cognates and thematic vocabulary related to teaching materials, although infrequent in target language (TL) corpora, should not necessarily be considered advanced and that analyses of learners' lexical sophistication would benefit from integrating these aspects. In this study, the frequency-based method normally used in lexical profiling was modified by recategorizing some low-frequency words considered easy by many teachers. On the basis of the TJs, a basic vocabulary, which consisted mainly of high-frequency words but also of cognates and thematic words, was defined, which was based on the fact that teachers judged certain low-frequency cognates and thematic words as relatively easy. Using the modified method, learners' lexical profiles were found to be more homogeneous within groups of learners at specific proficiency levels. The superiority of the new method over the purely frequency-based one was shown when comparing effect sizes. It is argued that this method gives a more correct picture of advanced L2 lexical profiles.

  • 5.
    Bartning, Inge
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of French, Italian and Classical Languages.
    Lundell, Fanny Forsberg
    Hancock, Victorine
    On the role of linguistic contextual factors for morphosyntactic stabilization in high level l2 french2012In: Studies in Second Language Acquisition, ISSN 0272-2631, E-ISSN 1470-1545, Vol. 34, no 2, p. 243-267Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The purpose of this article is to offer contextual linguistic explanations for morphosyntactic deviances (MSDs) in high-level second language (L2) French (30 nonnative speakers vs. 10 native speakers). It is hypothesized that the distribution of formulaic sequences (FSs) and the complexity of information structure will influence the occurrence of MSDs. The study reports that MSDs rarely occur within FSs, and if they do, they occur within sequences containing open slots for creative rule application. The rhematic part of the utterance attracts more MSDs due to the fact that this part is more syntactically complex than the preamble (the thematic part). An additional explanation is the mean length of the rhematic part, which is longer than the preamble and implies a higher processing load. A final explanation of MSD occurrence in the rheme is linked to the distribution of FSs in the information structure. The results are discussed in relation to the ongoing debate on the constructs of complexity, accuracy, and fluency-a promising area of study.

  • 6.
    Bijvoet, Ellen
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for Research on Bilingualism.
    Fraurud, Kari
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for Research on Bilingualism.
    Studying high-level (L1-L2) development and use among young people in multilingual Stockholm: the role of perceptions of ambient sociolinguistic variation2012In: Studies in Second Language Acquisition, ISSN 0272-2631, E-ISSN 1470-1545, Vol. 34, no 2, p. 291-319Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article makes a case for studying the perceptions that young people have of the ways of speaking of both themselves and others on the supposition that constructions of ambient sociolinguistic variation have an impact on the language development and use of individual language users. Such a study is particularly relevant in multilingual contexts in which differences with regard to social as well as ethnic and linguistic background may generate significantly different perceptions. In a speaker evaluation study, Swedish speech stimuli from 12 young Stockholmers were evaluated by 343 listeners from different backgrounds. The results show that young people may divide and relate to the linguistic space of Stockholm in very different ways and that they vary in their degree of accuracy regarding linguistic self-perception.

  • 7.
    Bylund, Emanuel
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for Research on Bilingualism. University of the Western Cape, South Africa.
    Abrahamsson, Niclas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for Research on Bilingualism.
    Hyltenstam, Kenneth
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for Research on Bilingualism.
    Does first language maintenance hamper nativelikeness in a second language? A study of ultimate attainment in early bilinguals2012In: Studies in Second Language Acquisition, ISSN 0272-2631, E-ISSN 1470-1545, Vol. 34, no 2, p. 215-241Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Within the field of SLA, the incidence of nativelikeness in second language (L2) speakers has typically been explained as a function of age of acquisition. An alternative interpretation, however, is that L2 learners do not attain nativelike proficiency because of first language (L1) maintenance. This interpretation has nevertheless remained mostly theoretical due to the lack of empirical evidence. This study sets out to address the role of L1 proficiency in L2 ultimate attainment by examining L1 and L2 proficiency in 30 early L1 Spanish–L2 Swedish bilinguals. Language proficiency was assessed through grammaticality judgment tests and cloze tests, and additional data on language aptitude were collected through the Swansea Language Aptitude Test (v.2.0; Meara, Milton, & Lorenzo-Dus, 2002). The results showed positive correlations between nativelike L1 and L2 behavior. Additionally, it was found that language aptitude was positively correlated with nativelike L1 and L2 performance. In view of these findings, it is suggested that (a) L1 maintenance does not hamper L2 nativelikeness and (b) language aptitude is an important factor for bilingual ultimate attainment.

  • 8.
    Eliaso Magnusson, Josefina
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for Research on Bilingualism.
    Stroud, Christopher
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for Research on Bilingualism. University of the Western Cape, South Africa.
    High proficiency in markets of performance a sociocultural approach to nativelikeness2012In: Studies in Second Language Acquisition, ISSN 0272-2631, E-ISSN 1470-1545, Vol. 34, no 2, p. 321-345Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    High-proficiency second language (L2) learners challenge much theory and methodology in contemporary sociolinguistic and L2 acquisition research, which suggests the need for honest interdisciplinarity when working in the interstices of style, stylization, and advanced acquisition processes. When to consider fluent and highly competent speakers of a language to be language learners in ways relevant to SLA theory is a fraught and contentious issue. This study suggests that highly fluent multilinguals provide key data on notions of nativelikeness and near-nativelikeness that are of value for understanding processes of acquisition and use. It suggests that relative judgments of nativelikeness are interactionally accomplished (membership) categorizations made on the basis of specific linguistic features relative to particular linguistic markets. The data for the study are taken from a unique population-namely, young people from multilingual family backgrounds, born and raised in Sweden, all of whom ethnically self-identify as Assyrian-Syrian but whose repertoires are complexly multilingual. All participants are generally perceived to be native speakers of Swedish on a daily basis. Nevertheless, at certain moments, these young people are reclassified as near-native or native-like. The study analyzes their narrative accounts of metalinguistic reflexivity from occasions and interactional moments when they are classified as nonstandard speakers and, therefore, near-natives or learners. The findings suggest the necessity of revisiting notions of nativelikeness and account for the phenomenon in terms of register, voice, and identity relative to different symbolic and linguistic markets.

  • 9.
    Hyltenstam, Kenneth
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for Research on Bilingualism.
    Abrahamsson, Niclas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for Research on Bilingualism.
    Introduction: High-Level L2 Acquisition, Learning, and Use2012In: Studies in Second Language Acquisition, ISSN 0272-2631, E-ISSN 1470-1545, Vol. 34, no 2, p. 177-186Article in journal (Other academic)
  • 10.
    Parkvall, Mikael
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Linguistics, General Linguistics.
    Brief Note on Valdman (2005)2006In: Studies in Second Language Acquisition, ISSN 0272-2631, E-ISSN 1470-1545, Vol. 28, no 3, p. 515-516Article in journal (Other academic)
  • 11.
    Stölten, Katrin
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Swedish Language and Multilingualism, Centre for Research on Bilingualism.
    Abrahamsson, Niclas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Swedish Language and Multilingualism, Centre for Research on Bilingualism.
    Hyltenstam, Kenneth
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Swedish Language and Multilingualism, Centre for Research on Bilingualism.
    Effects of age and speaking rate on voice onset time: The production of voiceless stops by near-native L2 speakers2015In: Studies in Second Language Acquisition, ISSN 0272-2631, E-ISSN 1470-1545, Vol. 37, no 1, p. 71-100Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    As part of a research project on the investigation of second language (L2) ultimate attainment in 41 Spanish early and late near-native speakers of L2 Swedish, the present study reports on voice onset time (VOT) analyses of the production of Swedish word-initial voiceless stops, /p t k/. VOT is analyzed in milliseconds as well as in percentages of word duration, thereby accounting for speaking rate effects. The results revealed an overall age effect on VOT production; however, this age effect became salient and sta­tistically significant for all three stops only when speaking rate was taken into consider­ation. Similarly, when speaking rate was accounted for, only a small minority of the late learners exhibited actual nativelike L2 behavior, and most (but far from all) early learn­ers performed within native-speaker range. The results are taken as an indication for relative VOT, as opposed to absolute VOT, constituting a reliable measure of nativelike L2 stop production, which has important implications for future research on age effects and maturational constraints in L2 acquisition.

1 - 11 of 11
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