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L1-L2 differences in the acquisition of form-meaning pairings: A comparison of English and German learners of French

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Publication details

JournalCanadian modern language review-Revue canadienne des langues vivantes
DatePublished - May 2015
Issue number2
Number of pages181
Pages (from-to)156
Original languageEnglish


This paper examines the impact of L1-L2 form-meaning differences in the domain of aspect to investigate whether L2 learners are able to acquire properties of the L2 that are different from the L1. Oral data were collected from English- and German-speaking university learners of French L2 (n=75) at two different levels of proficiency. The results show that appropriate use of aspect morphology at the advanced stages of learning is significantly influenced by differences in L1 background, with significant differences also revealed between French NS and L2 learners. The results suggest that whilst the nature and complexity of form-meaning mapping in the L2 may explain part of the learning problem, an important role must also to be attributed to the form-meaning mapping differences between the L1 and the L2.

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