Using explicit instruction about L1 to reduce crosslinguistic effects in L2 grammar learning: Evidence from oral production in L2 French.

Kevin McManus, Emma Josephine Marsden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study advances previous research about the effects of explicit instruction on second language (L2) development by examining learners’ use of verbal morphology following different types of explicit information (EI) and comprehension practice. We investigated the extent to which additional EI about the first language (L1) can reduce the effects of crosslinguistic influence in L2 oral production. Sixty-nine English-speaking learners of L2 French undertook either: (a) a ‘core’ treatment of EI about the L2 with L2 comprehension practice, (b) the same L2 core + L1 comprehension practice, (c) the same L2 core + L1 comprehension practice + EI about L1, or (d) outcome tests only. Results showed that providing additional EI about the L1 benefitted the accuracy of oral production immediately after the instruction and then 6 weeks later. These results suggest that tailoring instruction, specifically the nature of the EI, to the nature of the learning problem can facilitate L2 learning. In particular, EI about L1 can facilitate L2 learning by increasing learners’ awareness of similarities and differences in how L1 and L2 express the same meanings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)459-480
Number of pages22
JournalThe Modern Language Journal
Issue number2
Early online date3 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 14 May 2019

Bibliographical note

© 2019 National Federation of Modern Language Teachers Associations. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details.


  • French
  • crosslinguistic influence
  • first language
  • foreign language learning
  • grammar
  • instruction
  • oral production

Cite this