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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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Marlin Âgren - The Advanced L2 Writer of French: A Study of Number Agreement in Swedish Learners 149


MALIN ÅGREN The Advanced L2 Writer of French: A Study of Number Agreement in Swedish Learners The literature in the field of L21 acquisition has so far mainly described the advanced L2 speaker (cf. Towell et al, 1996; Bartning, 1997; Howard, 2002, etc), except for Labeau (2005) who deals with both oral and writ- ten data. However, it is insufficient to analyse the instructed L2 learner of French exclusively in terms of oral production. In the instructional setting, written input and output play an important role very early in the acquisition process (Harklau, 2002). This paper proposes a widening of the notion of advanced learner in the domain of written interlanguage and emphasises the advanced L2 writer of French compared to the native writer. In the context of this empirical study, a group of young Swedish L2 learners of French at an advanced level is compared to a group of native writers of approximately the same age (16–19 years). We present a detailed analysis of morphological number marking and agreement in nominal and verbal phrases (NP and VP). The phenomenon of number agree- ment is particularly interesting in French where number morphology is often silent in speech, and therefore potentially difficult to carry out in writing. In a wider perspective, this article addresses the different relations between written/spoken French in L1 and L2 settings and their possible influence on the production of written morphology. In L1, the written 1 In the present study, we use the term L2 in...

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