Spanish can express future time through the periphrastic future: 'ir a + infinitivo' (to be going to + infinitive), or through future tense morphology. While the periphrastic future can only be interpreted as future time, the morphological future can be interpreted in two ways: as future time or as epistemic (i.e. having a meaning of probability). The epistemic interpretation is heavily reliant on context, and thus requires the acquisition of complex interface properties between morphosyntax and discourse. This study looks at the acquisition of future of probability in L3 Spanish by learners whose first languages are English and French. Several theoretical models have been proposed for what drives syntactic/morphosyntactic transfer to the L3 or Ln: the Cumulative Enhancement Model (CEM) (Flynn et al., 2004), the L2 Status factor (Bardel & Falk, 2007) and the Typological Primacy Model (TPM) (Rothman, 2011). All three models are considered in this study and results provide the greatest support for the TPM (Rothman, 2011), which states that regardless of the order of acquisition, typology is the determining factor for transfer in L3A. An L2 Spanish control group without knowledge of French is included in the study, and this group's results differ in certain conditions on the experimental tasks, which provides evidence for transfer from French for the L3 groups. Furthermore, results indicate that despite the complexity of the interface properties involved in the acquisition of future of probability in Spanish, L3 learners are able to correctly interpret future time and epistemic uses of future tense morphology.
Proceedings of the 12th Generative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition Conference (GASLA 2013)
edited by Jennifer Cabrelli Amaro, Tiffany Judy, and Diego Pascual y Cabo
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