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December 2021

Input and SLA: Adults' sensitivity to different sorts of cues to French gender

Journal/Book: Lang Learn. 1999; 49: 350 Main Street, Ste 6, Malden, MA 02148, USA. Blackwell Publishers. 37-92.

Abstract: This article investigates experimentally if beginner adult learners, given auditory stimuli, are equally likely to represent French gender subclasses in terms of phonological, morphosyntactic, and/or semantic representations. Eighty-eight adult English speakers learned patterned [Det + N]French + translation equivalent english lists. Analyses of results reveal that participants more readily cognized ''natural'' semantic and morphological patterns; these same lists lent themselves to generalization. The results demonstrate that for this group of learners, the construct of input for gender learning emerges through the construction of abstract knowledge representations, apparently on the basis of prior knowledge, and not solely from objective patterns in the speech signal. They provide support for theories of linguistic cognition involving mediating structural representations, as well as learning theories in which conceptual information can guide grammatical development.

Note: Article Carroll SE, Univ Potsdam, Inst English & Amer Studies, CP 60 15 53, D-14415 Potsdam, GERMANY

Keyword(s): LANGUAGE-ACQUISITION; GRAMMATICAL GENDER; GERMAN


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