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The role of statistical learning in the acquisition of motion event construal in a second language

Treffers-Daller, J. ORCID: and Calude, A. (2015) The role of statistical learning in the acquisition of motion event construal in a second language. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 18 (5). pp. 602-623. ISSN 1367-0050

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/13670050.2015.1027146


Learning to talk about motion in a second language is very difficult because it involves restructuring deeply entrenched patterns from the first language (Slobin 1996). In this paper we argue that statistical learning (Saffran et al. 1997) can explain why L2 learners are only partially successful in restructuring their second language grammars. We explore to what extent L2 learners make use of two mechanisms of statistical learning, entrenchment and pre-emption (Boyd and Goldberg 2011) to acquire target-like expressions of motion and retreat from overgeneralisation in this domain. Paying attention to the frequency of existing patterns in the input can help learners to adjust the frequency with which they use path and manner verbs in French but is insufficient to acquire the boundary crossing constraint (Slobin and Hoiting 1994) and learn what not to say. We also look at the role of language proficiency and exposure to French in explaining the findings.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Institute of Education > Language and Literacy in Education
Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism (CeLM)
ID Code:39018
Uncontrolled Keywords:motion event construal, second language acquisition, statistical learning, entrenchment, pre-emption


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