Typological constraints in foreign language acquisition: the expression of motion by advanced Russian learners of English

Abstract : This study examines the impact of typological constraints on second language acquisition. It explores the hypothesis of a conceptual transfer from first to foreign language (L1 to L2). Based on Talmy’s (2000) distinction between Verb- and Satellite-framed languages, corpus-based analyses compare descriptions of voluntary motion events along three paths (up, down, across), elicited in a controlled situation from native speakers (Russian, English) and Russian learners at two levels (upper- intermediate and advanced) acquiring English in a classroom setting. Results show that in spite of considerable differences between Russian and English native speakers’ performance, particularly with respect to the relative variability in their lexicalization patterns, idiosyncratic forms and structures produced by L2 learners rarely mirror motion conceptualization in their first language, which suggests the absence of a substantial transfer from L1.
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Tatiana Iakovleva. Typological constraints in foreign language acquisition: the expression of motion by advanced Russian learners of English. Langage, Interaction et Acquisition / Language, Interaction and Acquisition , John Benjamins Publishing Company 2012, Typological perspectives on second language acquisition: ‘Thinking for Speaking’ in L2, 3 (2), pp.231-260. ⟨10.1075/lia.3.2.04iak⟩. ⟨hal-01244336⟩

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