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Title: The acquisition of French morpho-syntactic properties : cross-linguistic influence in the learning of L3 French by Turkish/Spanish speakers who learned English as an L2
Author: Ben Abbes, Karima
ISNI:       0000 0004 6060 0219
Awarding Body: University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2016
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Many studies have investigated third language acquisition (L3A) as an independent area of research. The core common interest of these studies has been to search for the source of cross-linguistic influence (CLI) among the previously acquired languages (i.e. L1 and L2) in the learning of an L3. In the domain of morpho-syntax, three competing hypotheses have emerged: one attributes a primary role to the L1 as the source of CLI (Jin, 2009; Hermas, 2014); a second proposes the L2 as the main source of transfer (Bardel and Falk, 2007; Falk and Bardel, 2011); while a third considers that the order of acquisition per se is not the significant factor triggering CLI in L3A, but rather the degree of typological proximity between the L1/L2 and the L3 (Rothman, 2011, 2013, 2015). This study set out to test these hypotheses in the learning of L3 French by two groups: L1 speakers of Spanish and L1 speakers of Turkish, both of whom had learned English as an L2. Each group was further sub-divided by their L2 proficiency into lower intermediates (LIs) and advanced (Adv). Using a ‘mixed methods approach’ consisting of quantitative and qualitative instruments, the acquisition of four morpho-syntactic properties was investigated: (i) Gender, (ii) Number Concord, (iii) Definiteness/Specificity and (iv) Verb Raising. Results were consistent with the proposal of Rothman (2011, 2013, 2015); (psycho)typological proximity seems indeed to be a determining factor triggering CLI in L3A. However, unlike Rothman, who always advocates holistic typological proximity, this study found evidence for CLI based on property-by-property structural similarity. In particular, it is argued that in the absence of clear holistic typological similarity, structural similarity on a property-by-property basis (actual and perceived) is the driving variable for CLI at the initial state of L3A. These findings led to the proposal of a new model entitled the property-based structural proximity (PSP) hypothesis.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: P Philology. Linguistics ; PC Romance languages