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What variables condition syntactic transfer? A look at the L3 initial state

Rothman, J. and Cabrelli Amaro, J. (2010) What variables condition syntactic transfer? A look at the L3 initial state. Second Language Research, 26 (2). pp. 189-218. ISSN 1477-0326

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1177/0267658309349410

Abstract/Summary

This study investigates transfer at the third-language (L3) initial state, testing between the following possibilities: (1) the first language (L1) transfer hypothesis (an L1 effect for all adult acquisition), (2) the second language (L2) transfer hypothesis, where the L2 blocks L1 transfer (often referred to in the recent literature as the ‘L2 status factor’; Williams and Hammarberg, 1998), and (3) the Cumulative Enhancement Model (Flynn et al., 2004), which proposes selective transfer from all previous linguistic knowledge. We provide data from successful English-speaking learners of L2 Spanish at the initial state of acquiring L3 French and L3 Italian relating to properties of the Null-Subject Parameter (e.g. Chomsky, 1981; Rizzi, 1982). We compare these groups to each other, as well as to groups of English learners of L2 French and L2 Italian at the initial state, and conclude that the data are consistent with the predictions of the ‘L2 status factor’. However, we discuss an alternative possible interpretation based on (psycho)typologically-motivated transfer (borrowing from Kellerman, 1983), providing a methodology for future research in this domain to meaningfully tease apart the ‘L2 status factor’ from this alternative account.

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:33079
Publisher:Sage

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