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A functional approach to cross-linguistic influence in ab initio L3 acquisition*


The present study follows the role of the first (L1, English) and second (L2, Japanese or Spanish) languages in ab initio third language (L3, Latin) acquisition. Participants (N = 25) were L2 classroom learners without immersion experience. In order to complement previous generativist studies and to offer a fuller developmental account of how transfer operates at the morphosyntactic level, the Competition Model (CM) was adopted as theoretical framework. Positive changes in overall accuracy and sentence processing patterns in role assignment in L3 Latin show L3 development as largely modulated by the L1, suggesting that higher levels of L2 resonance are necessary for integrated patterns of L1 and L2 cues to emerge.

Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Cristina Sanz, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Georgetown University, Washington, DC 20057, USA
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Initial reports of the data were presented at the 2012 American Association for Applied Linguistics in Boston, USA. The study is part of The Latin Project, developed by Cristina Sanz with Catherine Stafford and Harriet Bowden; funding to Sanz from the Spencer Foundation and Georgetown's Graduate School made it possible. The authors would like to thank Professors Mori and Doak, Sarah Grey, German Zarate, Bill Garr, Ru San Chen, and instructors and colleagues in the Spanish and Portuguese and East Asian Languages Departments at Georgetown University for their help with data collection. We would also like to thank Lourdes Ortega and Rebecca Sachs for their insightful comments on earlier versions of this paper. Any remaining errors are exclusively the responsibility of the authors.

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