NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1161418
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Dec
Pages: 23
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0039-8322
Examining the Concept of Subordination in Spoken L1 and L2 English: The Case of "If"-Clauses
Basterrechea, María; Weinert, Regina
TESOL Quarterly: A Journal for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages and of Standard English as a Second Dialect, v51 n4 p897-919 Dec 2017
This article explores the applications of research on native spoken language into second language learning in the concept of subordination. Second language (L2) learners' ability to integrate subordinate clauses is considered an indication of higher proficiency (e.g., Ellis & Barkhuizen, 2005; Tarone & Swierzbin, 2009). However, the notion of subordination is challenged in the analysis of spoken syntax due to the potential problems in identifying clausal relationships. The study compares the production of "if"-clauses of first language (L1; N = 20) and L2 (N = 20) speakers of English in informal conversations and a map task. Results show that L2 speakers exhibited a strong preference for pre-posed "if"-clauses consisting of one "if"-clause; compared to L1 users, they used few multiclausal "if"-clause complexes and postscript and semiformulaic post-posed clauses in the conversations. As for the map task, L2 speakers did not use single "if"-clause directives, frequently used by L1 speakers. The findings seem to indicate that L2 speakers were constrained in their structural and hence functional repertoire. The article concludes that using subordination as a measure of complexity may not be straightforward, because clausal relations typical of spoken language need to be taken into account.
Wiley-Blackwell. 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148. Tel: 800-835-6770; Tel: 781-388-8598; Fax: 781-388-8232; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A