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Convergence of temporal reference frames in sequential bilinguals: Event structuring unique to second language users

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Publication details

JournalBilingualism: Language and Cognition
DatePublished - 11 Nov 2015
Issue number4
Number of pages15
Pages (from-to)753-768
Original languageEnglish


Previous research suggests that the way grammatical aspect is encoded in the speaker’s L1 influences event conceptualisation and its subprocesses even in highly advanced L2. Given the lack of consensus regarding the susceptibility to restructuring L1 principles in L2, this work contributes to the debate with two innovative components: it tests whether the susceptibility to adjust L1 (Czech and Hungarian) structuring principles in L2 (English) is dependent on a specific degree of L1-L2 overlap in aspect marking, and it examines unique learner-specific structuring techniques that surface in picture descriptions and film
retellings, to illustrate how bilinguals’ temporal reference frames converge. Besides signalling the construction of a unitary conceptual frame, L2 results clearly show the importance of language distance for explaining the nature of sequential bilinguals’ temporal structuring. To embrace the implications of the reported phenomenon, a novel proposal is developed, incorporating grammatical knowledge types already at the stage of conceptualisation.

    Research areas

  • conceptual convergence, temporal structuring, grammatical aspect, sequential bilinguals, thinking for speaking

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