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ERIC Number: EJ905239
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Dec
Pages: 49
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 67
ISSN: ISSN-0023-8333
The Role of L1 Transfer in the Interpretation of Articles with Definite Plurals in L2 English
Ionin, Tania; Montrul, Silvina
Language Learning, v60 n4 p877-925 Dec 2010
This study examines second language (L2) acquisition of the interpretation of plural noun phrases. Languages with articles differ in whether they use bare plurals (English) or definite plurals (Spanish) to express generic interpretation (Chierchia, 1998; Dayal, 2004; among others). It is hypothesized that Spanish-speaking learners of English transfer the interpretation of definite plurals from their native language. Results of a truth-value judgment task provide support for this hypothesis: Spanish speakers (N = 24) overaccepted the generic interpretation of English definite plurals to a greater extent than proficiency-matched speakers of Korean (N = 29), an articleless language. Results of a follow-up study further show that with advanced proficiency and increased immersion in the target language, Spanish-speaking learners of English (N = 11) were as targetlike as Korean-speaking learners of English (N = 9) on the interpretation of definite plurals, which suggests that recovery from first language transfer is possible. Implications of these findings for theories of L2 acquisition are discussed.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A