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On the typological economy of syntactic transfer: word order and relative clause high/low attachment preference in L3 Brazilian Portuguese

Rothman, J. (2010) On the typological economy of syntactic transfer: word order and relative clause high/low attachment preference in L3 Brazilian Portuguese. International Review of Applied Linguistics (IRAL), 48 (2-3). pp. 245-273. ISSN 1613-4141

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1515/iral.2010.011

Abstract/Summary

One central question in the formal linguistic study of adult multilingual morphosyntax (i.e., L3/Ln acquisition) involves determining the role(s) the L1 and/or the L2 play(s) at the L3 initial state (e.g., Bardel & Falk, Second Language Research 23: 459–484, 2007; Falk & Bardel, Second Language Research: forthcoming; Flynn et al., The International Journal of Multilingualism 8: 3–16, 2004; Rothman, Second Language Research: forthcoming; Rothman & Cabrelli, On the initial state of L3 (Ln) acquisition: Selective or absolute transfer?: 2007; Rothman & Cabrelli Amaro, Second Language Research 26: 219–289, 2010). The present article adds to this general program, testing Rothman's (Second Language Research: forthcoming) model for L3 initial state transfer, which when relevant in light of specific language pairings, maintains that typological proximity between the languages is the most deterministic variable determining the selection of syntactic transfer. Herein, I present empirical evidence from the later part of the beginning stages of L3 Brazilian Portuguese (BP) by native speakers of English and Spanish, who have attained an advanced level of proficiency in either English or Spanish as an L2. Examining the related domains of syntactic word order and relative clause attachment preference in L3 BP, the data clearly indicate that Spanish is transferred for both experimental groups irrespective of whether it was the L1 or L2. These results are expected by Rothman's (Second Language Research: forthcoming) model, but not necessarily predicted by other current hypotheses of multilingual syntactic transfer; the implications of this are discussed.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Clinical Language Sciences
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Language and Cognition
ID Code:33077
Publisher:de Gruyter

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