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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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Dominique Klinger - Syntactic Complexity and Discourse Complexity in Japanese L1 and French L2: Three Case Studies 221


DOMINIQUE KLINGLER Syntactic Complexity and Discourse Complexity in Japanese L1 and French L2: Three Case Studies Introduction This chapter analyses the principles of syntactic and discourse organisa- tion and their inter-relation as exemplified by the narratives produced in French and Japanese by three Japanese informants ( Japanese L1 and French L2). This data-based study is contrastive in intent, comparing texts in L1 and L2. It is a qualitative study that aims at supplementing quantitative studies, more often based on L2 production compared to native speaker production. Two research questions will be investigated: – what are the principles that govern learners’ texts in L1 and L2 in terms of complexity? – what are the factors that explain the options taken in terms of syntax and discourse in learners’ texts? Providing an answer to these questions should bring support to the idea that learners usually opt for simpler constructions in L2 as evidenced in a great number of papers1 (amongst others Bartning and Kirchmeyer 2003, Kirchmeyer 2002, Hancock, 2000). The purpose of the present contribution is close to Lambert, Caroll M., von Stutterheim (2003), although it differs in its point of departure. Lambert, Caroll and von Stutterheim adopt a comparative and crosslin- guistic approach in their study of the use of subordination in narratives produced by native speakers and advanced (L1 German and French) 1 Besides Klein and Perdue on ‘basic variety’ (1997), many papers have been devoted to various type of advanced varieties (see AILE 9, 11, 19 and the survey by Véronique...

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