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The Advanced Learner Variety

The Case of French


Edited By Emmannuelle Labeau and Florence Myles

This volume originates from a workshop entitled ‘Revisiting advanced varieties in L2 learning’ organized by the editors at Aston University (Birmingham, UK) in June 2006. It consists of a peer-reviewed selection of the best contributions.
Many different approaches have been used in the study of advanced learners and their characteristics. Specific areas of language have repeatedly been found to remain problematic even at advanced levels, and much empirical research has been carried out. In particular, areas of grammar such as the tense or agreement systems often pose difficulties, as well as lexical idiosyncrasies such as formulaic sequences, and the discourse/pragmatic constraints operating in French. This volume brings together recent research exploring the advanced learner capabilities in each of those domains, as well as possible explanations for the difficulties they raise for the L2 learner of French. Additionally, one of the areas which has received considerable attention in the French L2 literature on advanced learners, tense and aspect, is also explored from the point of view of French learners of English, to explore any parallels. In presenting this research, the book clarifies the concept of the advanced learner: how does s/he differ from native speakers and why?


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Inge Bartning - The Advanced Learner Variety: 10 Years Later 11


inge bartning The Advanced Learner Variety: 10 Years Later Introduction The primary aim of this chapter is to describe the advanced learner variety and its grammatical and discursive profile in an acquisi tional continuum of oral French L2. A secondary aim is to present a broad-brush picture of a state-of-the-art account of the research within the field 10 years after the publication of the special issue of AILE (1997), entitled Les appre- nants avancés. In order to define the advanced learner variety, two different perspec- tives are presented, one from the end state and the other in a develop- mental perspective towards the end state. Using the latter perspective, the advanced variety will be identified on the six-stage acquisitional continu um for oral French L2, as proposed by Bartning & Schlyter (2004). Following an overview of recent research, some preliminary findings from a programme called High Level Proficiency in Second Language Acquisition (Hyltenstam et al. 2005) are presented. These findings are based on new data from corpora of very advanced and near-native L2 users and will be compared to native speaker data. The chapter ends with a proposal of features that can be used to distinguish advanced from near-native varieties. 12 inge bartning Identification of the advanced varieties in an acquisitional continuum of oral French L2 In the research programme mentioned above, the following prelimi- nary definitions were used as a starting point in describing the usage by speakers of advanced, near-native and native language (Hyltenstam et al. 2005, p....

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