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Subjunctive Use and Development in L2 French: A Longitudinal Study

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JournalLinguistics, Interaction and Acquisition (LIA)/Acquísítíon et Interactíon en Langue Étrangère
DatePublished - 2015
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)42-73
Original languageEnglish


We investigated the use and development of the Subjunctive in L2 French. Participants were 29 students of French at a UK university, who additionally spent 9 months in France, and 10 native speakers of French. Data were collected from two production tasks (oral and written) and a grammaticality judgement task. The results show that all participants made some use of the Subjunctive before leaving for France, with only limited development in its use during their stay. It is more frequently used in writing than in speech, consistent with French corpus-based research (O’Connor DiVito 1997). The judgement findings reveal significant differences between different Subjunctive triggers, with learners consistently better able to recognise affirmative triggers over conjunctions and negatives. Overall, it appears that affirmative Subjunctive triggers represent a key source of development, with most change evident for lower proficiency learners.

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