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Transfer and derivational complexity in the wh-movement of heritage speakers and L2 learners: A bidirectional study / Holger Hopp

Réalisation : 20 juin 2017 Mise en ligne : 20 juin 2017
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Transfer and derivational complexity in the wh-movement of heritage speakers and L2 learners: A bidirectional study / Holger Hopp, in colloque "Bilingualism vs. monolingualism: a new perspective on limitations to L2 acquisition" organisé par la laboratoire Octogone-Lordat (Université Toulouse 2) sous la responsabilité de Barbara Köpke (UT2J), Holger Hopp (Technische Universität Braunschweig), Tanja Kupisch (Universität Konstanz), Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès, 19-20 juin 2017.

Ina comparative study of heritage L1 and late L2 acquisition, we investigate theproduction and comprehension of filler-gap dependencies in Plautdietsch(Mennonite Low German) and English by Plautdietsch-English bilinguals. Previousresearch shows that complex (i.e. cross-clausal) wh- dependencies pose more difficulty to child L1 and adult L2learners than monoclausal dependencies (Jakubowicz and Strik 2008, Schulz 2011,Slavkov 2014). To avoid complex dependencies, learners often license medialconstructions where the wh-itemsurfaces once at the left periphery of the embedded CP and a second time at theleft periphery of the matrix clause, as illustrated by (1) and (2).

(1)  What do you think where she put the book?                     (medial scope-marking)

(2)  Where do you think where she put the book?                   (copy)

Medial-wh is ungrammatical in English, thoughpossible in (Low) German. In thispaper, we investigate whether medial-wh inheritage and L2 speakers is due to cross-linguistic transfer orgrammar-internal complexity reduction according to the Derivational ComplexityHypothesis (DCH; Jakubowicz, 2005). Our study presents a comparison of fluentL1 speakers of Plautdietsch, a Germanic variety spoken by Mennonites around theworld. We compare two groups within the same population, i.e. six speakers withPlautdietsch as L1 who learntEnglish late, and six speakers who have Plautdietsch as a heritage language andacquired English early. All speakers performed a production task that elicited833 long-distance, embedded, and matrix questions in both languages in total.Subsequently, they completed an acceptability judgment task on 144 questions inPlautdietsch and English. In productionand comprehension, all speakers clearly differentiated between languages inmatrix and embedded questions. For long-distance wh-questions, we found an interaction of group and language: InEnglish, only late learners produced medial constructions in the L2; inPlautdietsch, only heritage speakers produce medial- wh in their L1. This pattern cannot be due to transfer sincespeakers/groups produce medial-wh inonly one of their languages. Instead, medial-wh surfaces as a mechanism to reduce syntactic complexity in theless dominant language, irrespective of whether it is the L1 or the L2 orwhether it was acquired early or late. These group differences partially extendto comprehension. We argue that the DCH can account for grammaticalrestructuring in both heritage L1 speakers and late L2 speakers and discuss itspotential as a metric of incomplete acquisition and attrition in bilingual syntax.

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Anglais
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Claire SARAZIN (Réalisation), Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès-campus Mirail (Production), SCPAM / Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès-campus Mirail (Publication)
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Tous droits réservés aux auteurs et à l'Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès.
Citer cette ressource:
UT2J. (2017, 20 juin). Transfer and derivational complexity in the wh-movement of heritage speakers and L2 learners: A bidirectional study / Holger Hopp. [Vidéo]. Canal-U. https://www.canal-u.tv/96747. (Consultée le 27 mai 2022)
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