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Is he floating across or crossing afloat? Cross-influence of L1 and L2 in Spanish–English bilingual adults

  • JILL HOHENSTEIN (a1), ANN EISENBERG (a2) and LETITIA NAIGLES (a3)

Abstract

Research has begun to address the question of transfer of language usage patterns beyond the idea that people's native language (L1) can influence the way they produce a second language (L2). This study investigated bidirectional transfer, of both lexical and grammatical features, in adult speakers of English and Spanish who varied in age of L2 acquisition. Early and late learners of English watched and orally described video depictions of motion events. Findings suggest bilinguals' patterns of motion description lexically and grammatically resemble those of monolinguals in each language. However, although participants showed bidirectional lexical transfer, they displayed only L1-to-L2 grammatical transfer. Furthermore, learning L2 post-puberty affected L2 lexical choice, but both early and late L2 learners showed L2 influence on L1 lexical choice. Finally, the findings of grammatical transfer and age of acquisition were mixed. We discuss results with reference to theories of cross-language transfer.

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Corresponding author

Address for correspondence Jill Hohenstein, Department of Education and Professional Studies, King's College London, Franklin-Wilkins Building, London SE1 9NH, UK E-mail: jill.hohenstein@kcl.ac.uk

Footnotes

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This research was supported by NIMH postdoctoral fellowship training grant number 5 T32 NH020025 to Jill Hohenstein. Thanks go to Marianella Casasola and Elena Nicolaidis for their comments on this research, and to Carmen Silva-Corvalán and two anonymous reviews for their guidance. We are grateful to the bilingual speakers for their participation and to Angelica Runno for her help in collecting and translating these data. Portions of these data were presented at the 2003 International Conference on Cognitive Linguistics, La Rioja, Spain.

Footnotes

Is he floating across or crossing afloat? Cross-influence of L1 and L2 in Spanish–English bilingual adults

  • JILL HOHENSTEIN (a1), ANN EISENBERG (a2) and LETITIA NAIGLES (a3)

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