Edited by Susan H. Foster-Cohen, Marta Medved Krajnovic and Jelena Mihaljević Djigunović
[EUROSLA Yearbook 6] 2006
► pp. 27–56
This paper reports an experimental study on L2 vs. L3 Spanish morphological representation. A total of 19 Spanish learners (10 Chinese native speakers who are upper intermediate to advanced L2 English users as well as 9 English native speakers who do not speak a prior language without overt morphology) participated in the study. A written production task using Spanish nonce verbs was used to elicit regular and irregular forms of Spanish past participles. The study revealed differences between native and non-native Spanish speakers but ones that are still compatible with an approach which posits a dual mechanism for morphological processing. In addition, no principal difference between the L2 and the L3 Spanish learners was identified. A follow-up experiment on L2 English was therefore carried out testing 26 native speakers of Chinese and 17 native speakers of English using a written production task eliciting English regular and irregular past tense forms for both real verbs and nonce verbs. The findings suggested that native and non-native English speakers’ performances pattern similarly. It seems that L2 English plays a crucial role in Chinese speakers’ L3 Spanish morphological representation and in their similar performance to the L1 English-L2 Spanish speakers.
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