Typological perspectives on second language acquisition: ‘Thinking for Speaking’ in L2: Perspectives typologiques sur l’acquisition d’une langue seconde: ‘Penser pour Parler’ en L2
  • ISSN 1879-7865
  • E-ISSN: 1879-7873
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This paper aims to study perspective-taking in L2 discourse at the level of utterance information structure. Many studies have shown how principles of discourse organization partly reflect lexico-grammatical structures available in a given language, and how difficult it is to reorganize L1 discursive habits when acquiring an L2 in adulthood. In this study we compare how L2 learners of Romance languages (French, Italian), with either a Romance or a Germanic language as an L1, organize the information structure of utterances relating contrasting events. Native speakers of Germanic and Romance languages show systematic differences in the selection of the information unit — referential entities or predicate polarity — on which the contrast is highlighted (Dimroth et al. 2010) ; moreover, they differ in the lexical, prosodic and morpho-syntactic means used to achieve this goal. Our data show that L2 learners can adopt the target language perspective in the selection of the information unit to contrast, when the input offers clear evidence for it. However, their choice of linguistic means reveals both the influence of the L1 and the role of more general acquisitional principles, which are still active at the advanced level.


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