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The effect of construction frequency and native transfer on second language knowledge of the syntax-discourse interface

The effect of construction frequency and native transfer on second language knowledge of the syntax-discourse interface
The effect of construction frequency and native transfer on second language knowledge of the syntax-discourse interface
This article investigates knowledge of discourse conditioned left dislocations in the interlanguage competence in Spanish and English L2 learners. While Spanish Clitic Left Dislocation (CLLD) and English Topicalization are functionally very similar, they differ in that the former but not the latter requires the dislocated phrase to be clitic-doubled. In contrast, the Fronted Focus (FF) construction is functionally and syntactically similar in the two languages. Two experimental studies investigated knowledge of the syntactic form and discourse appropriateness of CLLD and Topicalization, using knowledge of FF as a baseline. English-native learners of Spanish were successful in acquiring CLLD as well as FF. Spanish-native learners of English, however, demonstrated no knowledge of Topicalization even at near-native levels of proficiency, while they did well on the transferable FF. These results are examined in the light of the Interface Hypothesis. It is argued that construction frequency in the input and transfer from the native language, but only those two factors together, can explain the experimental results.
0142-7164
671-699
Slabakova, Roumyana
1bda11ce-ce3d-4146-8ae3-4a486b6f5bde
Slabakova, Roumyana
1bda11ce-ce3d-4146-8ae3-4a486b6f5bde

Slabakova, Roumyana (2015) The effect of construction frequency and native transfer on second language knowledge of the syntax-discourse interface. Applied Psycholinguistics, 36 (3), 671-699. (doi:10.1017/S0142716413000386).

Record type: Article

Abstract

This article investigates knowledge of discourse conditioned left dislocations in the interlanguage competence in Spanish and English L2 learners. While Spanish Clitic Left Dislocation (CLLD) and English Topicalization are functionally very similar, they differ in that the former but not the latter requires the dislocated phrase to be clitic-doubled. In contrast, the Fronted Focus (FF) construction is functionally and syntactically similar in the two languages. Two experimental studies investigated knowledge of the syntactic form and discourse appropriateness of CLLD and Topicalization, using knowledge of FF as a baseline. English-native learners of Spanish were successful in acquiring CLLD as well as FF. Spanish-native learners of English, however, demonstrated no knowledge of Topicalization even at near-native levels of proficiency, while they did well on the transferable FF. These results are examined in the light of the Interface Hypothesis. It is argued that construction frequency in the input and transfer from the native language, but only those two factors together, can explain the experimental results.

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effect_of_construction_frequency_and_native_transfer_on_second_language_knowledge_of_the_syntaxdiscourse_interface - Accepted Manuscript
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e-pub ahead of print date: 25 July 2013
Published date: May 2015
Organisations: Modern Languages and Linguistics

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Local EPrints ID: 353327
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/353327
ISSN: 0142-7164
PURE UUID: 264d32b4-5c9a-4c88-99b3-023e483b9f5d
ORCID for Roumyana Slabakova: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-5839-460X

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Date deposited: 05 Jun 2013 10:01
Last modified: 05 Nov 2019 01:36

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