Article published in:Tense-Aspect-Modality in a Second Language: Contemporary perspectives
Edited by Martin Howard and Pascale Leclercq
[Studies in Bilingualism 50] 2017
► pp. 105–143
Is it really easier to acquire a closely-related language?
A study on the expression of iteration and continuation in L2 French
While the impact of cross-linguistic influence in the L2 use of verb morphology has been widely recognized, less is known about its role when optional temporal markers are involved. By means of a retelling task (The Finite Story), our study compares the use of optional markers of continuation and iteration in the production of French native speakers and Italian and German learners of French, at intermediate and advanced proficiency levels. Besides some common developmental tendencies shared by both Italian and German learners, such as an earlier use of lexical markers (adverbs: toujours, encore, de nouveau) over morpho-syntactic ones (verbal periphrasis of continuity, iterative prefix re-V), the results show a negative effect of partial, and therefore misleading, similarities between Italian and French (Fr. encore = It. ancora, Fr. toujours = It. sempre). In comparison to German learners, Italian learners tend to underuse structures not available in their L1 (continuative use of toujours), and to overuse structures available in both native and target languages but dispreferred by target language speakers (continuer à + Vinf for continuation, à/de nouveau for iteration). The Italian L1 data thus reveal both the absence of a facilitative effect of linguistic proximity at the intermediate level, and the negative effects of a presumed similarity at the advanced level.
Published online: 15 February 2017
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