The Role of Crosslinguistic Influence from L2 Spanish, Type of Linguistic Item, and Aptitude in the Learning Stages of L3 Portuguese Forms: An Exploratory Study
Maimone, Luciane L.
Leow, Ronald P
This study investigates facilitative and non-facilitative crosslinguistic influence (CLI) from second language (L2) Spanish in third language (L3) Portuguese learning by native English speakers, testing some of the hypotheses of L3 acquisition models. To assess CLI effects on the intake and learning of Portuguese forms by novice Portuguese learners, the performance of L2 Spanish speakers was compared to that of non-Spanish speaking learners. The study also addresses the question of how CLI affects the intake and learning of lexical versus morphosyntactic items. While this study does not pinpoint the exact mechanisms affected by CLI during input processing, it approaches CLI from a cognitive perspective, going beyond the simple verification of transfer and looking at prior knowledge as a cognitive factor in interaction with the analytical components of aptitude, operationalized as grammatical sensitivity and grammar inferencing. It also looks at how CLI affects different learning stages, following Leow's (2015a) model of the L2 learning process in ISLA. Participants underwent laboratory learning conditions and were assessed at three points in time. Results confirmed non-facilitative CLI from Spanish in the recognition and production of lexical items and irregular past participles, and positive CLI from Spanish in the recognition and production of regular past participles, partially supporting the Typological Proximity Model (TPM) (Rothman, 2010) and the Scalpel Model (Slabakova, 2016). Results also showed that CLI affected different learning stages similarly, and that differential performance on lexical versus morphosyntactic items was mediated by verb morphology and prior language knowledge. Aptitude only correlated positively with overall accuracy and agreement in the production of regular verb forms, with no mitigating effects on negative CLI.
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