Complexity at the phrasal level in spoken L1 and very advanced L2 French
This article examines linguistic complexity in the noun phrase in spoken L1 and L2 French. Research on linguistic complexity in L2 has often concentrated on syntactic complexity, subordination in particular. In this study, we focus on syntactic complexity at the phrasal level, i.e. in the noun phrase, following the assumption put forward by Norris and Ortega (2009: 564) that internal NP complexity provides an important measure of very advanced learners. The present study examines pre- and post-modification in the noun phrase in the oral production of very advanced non-native speakers (NNS) and native speakers (NS) elicited through an on-line retelling of a clip from Modern Times. The results confirm our main hypothesis, that there are differences between NS and NNS: NS use more complex NPs, NPs with a higher mean number of words and more NPs with multiple modifiers.
Keywords: linguistic/syntactic complexity, noun phrase, on-line spoken production, advanced L2 French, high level proficiency
Published online: 21 January 2016
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