This study seeks to explain errors involving derivational morphology in L2 French production, such as Les Français sont très sexualités 'the French are very sexuality,' where the nominal suffix -ité erroneously appears on the adjectival base sexuel. The question that arises is whether learners possess sufficient syntactic knowledge of L2 derivational morphology to identify that a derivational suffix changes the syntactic category of its base, leading to ungrammaticality (Lardiere 2006, Tyler and Nagy 1989). An experiment crossing derivationally-related suffixed forms with their bases tested learners' sensitivity to the use of these forms in the inappropriate syntactic context. The results seem to indicate that learners are sensitive to the presence or absence of suffixes, suggesting that such production errors as the one above are a matter of performance, not competence.
Proceedings of the 9th Generative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition Conference (GASLA 2007)
edited by Roumyana Slabakova, Jason Rothman, Paula Kempchinsky, and Elena Gavruseva
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