L3 Acquisition of the Spanish Subjunctive: Contexts Where Mood Can Alternate Without Ungrammaticality

Chapter
Part of the Second Language Learning and Teaching book series (SLLT)

Abstract

Our study looks at how crosslinguistic transfer affects the degree of attainment of one morphosyntactic-pragmatics interface structure in particular: the subjunctive in French and Spanish in contexts where mood can alternate without ungrammaticality. In addition to French and Spanish control groups containing speakers of a variety of dialects, our participants consist of advanced Anglophone learners of L2 French, advanced Anglophone learners of L2 Spanish, and advanced Anglophone learners of L2 French and L3 Spanish. The results from our selection scenario task suggest that positive crosslinguistic influence occurs both from the direction of the L2 to the L3 and from the L3 to the L2 since the multilingual learners outperformed the bilingual learners, most likely due to their increased exposure to the subjunctive in more than one non native tongue. Such results also suggest that adult L2 learners are better able to acquire an interface phenomenon when they are also learning an L3 which uses it in the same way, because they are able to advantageously apply their knowledge of this concept in French to Spanish, and vice versa. As a central question in regards to L2 adult learners is their ability to successfully acquire interface phenomena, our findings lead us to join the side of the debate that believes a near-native competence is possible despite the difficulties acquisition of these phenomena entail.

Keywords

Target Language Interface Phenomenon Subordinate Clause Bare Noun French Student 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Le département d’études françaisesThe University of Western OntarioLondonCanada

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