This study explores the effects of prolonged L2 exposure on L1 grammar, and seeks to understand the extent to which mental representations of the L1 are modified under influence of the L2. The constructions under examination are overt and null subjects in Italian L1, Dutch L2 and how these forms are used to track reference in discourse. Since Italian and Dutch show the same degree of specificity at a discourse-pragmatics level—distinct interpretations are mapped to distinct forms—the representational approach predicts no L1 attrition. The results of a Picture Verification Task and an Elicited Narrative Task confirm these predictions. In both cases the data of the experimental group show a striking similarity with the data of the control group. In addition, the results of the Elicited Narrative Task reveal for both groups an unexpected overuse of null subjects in context of topic shift.
Selected Proceedings of the 5th Conference on Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition North America (GALANA 2012)
edited by Chia-Ying Chu, Caitlin E. Coughlin, Beatriz Lopez Prego, Utako Minai, and Annie Tremblay Table of contents
ISBN 978-1-57473-463-8 library binding
v + 190 pages
publication date: 2014
published by Cascadilla Proceedings Project, Somerville, MA, USA