Lateral (morpho)syntactic transfer: An empirical investigation into the positive and negative influences of French on L1 English learners of Spanish within an instructed language-learning environment

Witney, John Clifford (2015) Lateral (morpho)syntactic transfer: An empirical investigation into the positive and negative influences of French on L1 English learners of Spanish within an instructed language-learning environment. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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Abstract

This thesis explores lateral (morpho)syntactic transfer – non-native transfer at the level of morphology and syntax – from French among L1 English learners of Spanish in an instructed language-learning environment. A quantitative and qualitative study was conducted to investigate the positive and negative influences of L2 French and to identify learners’ foreign language experiences and strategies in making interlingual connections. The quantitative study focused on providing statistical evidence of morphological and syntactic transfer and comprised three groups: The EN/FR/SP Group consisted of 28 L1 English learners with five years’ instruction in French and two in Spanish; the EN/SP Group consisted of 22 L1 English learners with two years’ instruction in Spanish and no prior knowledge of French; the SP Group consisted of 36 monolingual Spanish speakers. The qualitative study was conducted through semi-structured interviews to gain a greater understanding of learners’ ability to apply interlingual connections and draw on prior language-learning experiences and strategies. Participants consisted of 10 L1 English learners with six years’ instruction in French and three in Spanish. It is argued that knowledge of a non-native language plays a pivotal role in the learning of a further typologically similar one at the level of morphology and syntax. The overall results suggest that positive transfer may be facilitated and negative transfer may be highlighted and understood through cross-linguistic comparisons, with important pedagogical implications for future research.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
School/Department: School of Social Sciences, History & Philosophy > Applied Linguistics & Communication
Depositing User: ORBIT Editor
Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2015 11:34
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2016 12:47
URI: http://bbktheses.da.ulcc.ac.uk/id/eprint/109

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