Cross-linguistic influence on referent introduction and tracking in Japanese as a second language

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Abstract

This study investigates cross-linguistic influence (CLI) - also known as first language (L1) transfer - on referent introduction and tracking in oral narratives in Japanese as a second language (L2) within the framework of functional approaches to language learning. Narrative discourse produced by two groups of learners of Japanese, one whose L1 is typologically parallel to and one whose L1 is distant from Japanese (Korean and English, respectively), was investigated at three different proficiency levels. The results showed that there were differing patterns in the development of referent introduction and tracking between the two groups, which seemed to be influenced by the learners' L1. Further, different linguistic forms generated the differing ways in which CLI was realized in the learner language. To explicate these findings, I argue that (a) the saliency of certain linguistic forms facilitated CLI to take place, (b) lower level learners could not fully take advantage of the shared linguistic features between the L1 and L2 due to linguistic constraints they experienced, and (c) the learners' "thinking for speaking" in their L1 transferred to their L2.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-260
Number of pages20
JournalModern Language Journal
Volume93
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009 May 14

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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