EUROSLA 6: A selection of papers
  • ISSN 0169-7420
  • E-ISSN: 2213-4883
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Three of the traditional questions in (second) language acquisition research are:1. What is acquired, in what order?2. How is it acquired?3. Why is it acquired?In this paper, I concentrate on (1) and (3), proposing a description of various learners' paths towards various L2s, and examining different factors which may explain the course of acquisition. The learners were, for the most part, recorded during the European Science Foundation's study of the spontaneous (untutored) acquisition of Dutch, French, English and German (Perdue 1993); other comparable studies will also be discussed. The emphasis is placed on the beginning stages of acquisition in an attempt to demonstrate that these stages are crucial for an understanding of the whole process. It will be argued (a) that there are stages (grammars) through which all learners pass, (b) that these stages can be characterised explicitly, but (c) the description of these stages, and of the transition between them, is not reducible to a single-level analysis, and (d) distance between (source and target) language pairs partially determines the amount of useful knowledge available to the absolute beginner.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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