Visit and talks by Holger Hopp

Guest lectures by Professor Holger Hopp (Braunschweig), March 15-16, 2018

Talk 1: Thursday March 15, 14:15-16:00, Room E0104

Child L2 and L3 acquisition of English: Linguistic, cognitive and social determinants

In this talk, I will investigate the extent of cross-linguistic influence in lexical and syntactic acquisition in the child L2/3 acquisition of English. In a longitudinal study, 200 pupils (88 bilingual or heritage speakers, 112 monolingual German) in German public primary schools were tested at the end of grades 3 and 4 (aged 9-10) on receptive and productive vocabulary in the L1, German and English as well as on grammatical knowledge in English in sentence repetition and standardized tests (BPVS 3, TROG-2). In addition, we assessed cognitive and social factors. The results show differential L1 and L2 transfer in vocabulary and grammar. In addition, non-linguistic factors explain more variance than linguistic factors in grammatical acquisition, yet not in vocabulary acquisition. I discuss the findings in the context of current formal theories of L3 acquisition and the debate about “bilingual advantages” in foreign language learning.

Talk 2: Friday March 16, 14:15-16:00, Room E0104

L1 syntactic co-activation in L2 sentence processing – Yeti or iceberg?

In this talk, I explore the activation of first-language (L1) syntax in adult L2 sentence production and comprehension. One of the hallmarks of adult L2 acquisition is that learners transfer properties of the L1 grammar, especially in the beginning stages of L2 acquisition. However, the degree of L1 activation in real-time L2 processing is less clear. While L1 effects are well documented for the use of inflection in L2 processing, there is little evidence of L1 activation of syntactic structure in L2 processing. I will present a series of visual-world eye tracking and primed production studies that test the extent to which adult L2 learners license L1 parses or recruit the L1 syntax in production. Across comprehension and production, the findings suggest a limited degree of L1 effects. I will discuss these results in the context of current approaches to L2 processing.

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