Cross-Linguistic Transfer of Object Clitic Structure: A Case of L3 Brazilian Portuguese

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Abstract

This study examines the role of previously known language in L3 Brazilian Portuguese (BP) object expression acquisition. It investigates the claims of the main models of L3 transfer, the cumulative enhancement model (CEM) (Flynn et al. 2004), the L2 status factor (Bardel and Falk 2007) and the typological proximity model (TPM) (Rothman 2011) in both comprehension and production tasks. It also aims at measuring the extent of transfer effects in comprehension and production. Participants (N = 33) were divided into three groups, a mirror image group of L3 BP learners who already knew English and Spanish, and a native control group. They performed a self-paced reading task and a story telling task, which focused on object clitics in BP. Results indicate early convergence to the BP grammar by the L3 learners in what refers to object expression. They also suggest that, although no major effects of transfer were obtained, clitic placement errors in the production task and preference for inanimate and non-specific contexts for null objects can be traced to Spanish, independent of order of acquisition, providing evidence in favor of the TPM. Finally, comprehension seems to override the effects of language transfer earlier than production.

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Parma, A. (2017). Cross-Linguistic Transfer of Object Clitic Structure: A Case of L3 Brazilian Portuguese. Languages, 2(4), 14. https://doi.org/10.3390/languages2030014

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