This study questions the extent to which structured constructions require a complex transmission of information and therefore a high proficiency level for processing. In particular, the analysis aims to shed light on the phases that make up gradual interlinguistic development, highlighting their organization on a continuum which extends from 'rough' to 'fine' grammar. Spoken data of 64 Common European Framework of Reference (CEF) certified second language (L2) Italian learners of two proficiency levels were transcribed and analyzed in order to investigate a complex Italian construction, (i.e. left-dislocation). Results show that despite their low proficiency, B1 learners often produce the direct object left-dislocation, suggesting that pragmatics, rather than morpho-syntax, leads to the acquisition of the L2. This implies that learners prefer to satisfy their pragmatic needs to the detriment of morpho-syntactic accuracy; when increasing their proficiency they can refine the construction, which was previously roughly manifest in the interlanguage.
Selected Proceedings of the 2009 Second Language Research Forum: Diverse Contributions to SLA
edited by Luke Plonsky and Maren Schierloh
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