This paper presents a longitudinal analysis of French liaison among Irish university learners. Quantitative analysis of their spoken language points to the clear distinction that underlies their use of liaison between obligatory and variable contexts. In the former case, they evidence near-categorical levels of use, while their use of liaison in variable contexts is more frequent than that observed in studies of native speakers in the same age group. Morphosyntactic and lexical analyses indicate that the learners use variable liaison in a small number of morphosyntactic contexts as opposed to the full range within which it is possible, while applying it to a limited number of words within these contexts. The findings are discussed in relation to a number of hypotheses that they raise concerning the acquisition of liaison in L2 French, along with some methodological issues that they evidence concerning the study of liaison in learner language.
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