Volume 5, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1879-7865
  • E-ISSN: 1879-7873
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The production of alternatives to factual events implies a counterfactual thinking in which reality is compared to an imagined view of what might have been. Previous studies in linguistics have analyzed counterfactuality in the context of conditional constructions if P (then) Q (Bates 1976; Bloom 1981; Reilly 1982; Au 1983; Liu 1985; Bernini 1994; Chini 1995; Schouten 2000; Yeh & Gentner 2005). This article aims to describe the use of simple conditional sentences in a mutation task by 30 Spanish-speaking learners of French. In quantitative terms, the frequency of use of the conditional tense in the learner group is similar to that of the French control group for the same task. In qualitative terms, however, the way in which learners use the conditional differs from the native pattern in several ways: the use of the conjunction -que at the head of the mutation core (i.e., Qu’elle aurait pu choisir son repas ‘That she could have chosen her meal’); the omission of a modal in the mutation core (i.e., Son supérieur aurait choisi les moules ‘Her superior would have chosen the mussels’) or the use of a modal verb elsewhere than in the past participle position (i.e., Elle pourrait avoir commandé elle-même ‘She could have ordered herself’). Our results show that in the production of counterfactual scenarios, the learners combine flexional features that match the native pattern with syntactic and lexical elements dominant in the organizational principles of information in the L1


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Conditionnel; contrefactualité; FLE; verbes modaux

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