ERIC Number: ED175284
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1977-Feb
Reference Count: 0
French L2 Learners: What They're Talking About.
Lightbown, Patsy M.
Two English-speaking six-year-olds attending a French-speaking kindergarten in Montreal were tested for the content of their French L2 (second language) utterances. An adaptation of the mean length of utterance (MLU) index was used to judge the order of acquisition in the encoding of semantic-syntactic relations in the second language. The same categories of relations which accounted for 75% of the early sentences of English and French L1 learners accounted for 65-70% of the early sentences of the French L2 learners. Like the former, the latter named things, talked about people acting upon objects, talked about the recurrence and disappearance of objects, and called the attention of others to what they saw, heard, and did. However, while L1 learners begin by encoding a few relations and then add new ones, the two L2 learners encoded a large number of relations in their earliest sentences, and showed no pattern of emergence of new relations. The frequency with which various relations were expressed depended less on what the L2 learners knew how to say than on what they wanted to say. Further, some relations were more frequent in the speech of the L2 learners then in that of L1 learners, including attributive and naming relations. Finally, the language of the L2 learners was characterized by frequent use of pro-forms. (JB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Los Angeles Second Language Research Forum (1st, Los Angeles, California, February 11-13, 1977)