This article elucidates the Typological Primacy Model (TPM; Rothman, 2010, 2011, 2013) for the initial stages of adult third language (L3) morphosyntactic transfer, addressing questions that stem from the model and its application. The TPM maintains that structural proximity between the L3 and the L1 and/or the L2 determines L3 transfer. In addition to demonstrating empirical support for the TPM, this article articulates a proposal for how the mind unconsciously determines typological (structural) proximity based on linguistic cues from the L3 input stream used by the parser early on to determine holistic transfer of one previous (the L1 or the L2) system. This articulated version of the TPM is motivated by argumentation appealing to cognitive and linguistic factors. Finally, in line with the general tenets of the TPM, I ponder if and why L3 transfer might obtain differently depending on the type of bilingual (e.g. early vs. late) and proficiency level of bilingualism involved in the L3 process.
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