'Outperforming' Native Speakers
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Regarding query: http://www.linguistlist.org/issues/17/17-912.html#2
Here is a brief summary of the responses to the query I posted several
weeks ago (17.912) about L2 learners ''outperforming'' native-speakers on
judgment tasks. I received a total of 13 replies, all of which have been
useful either by helping me to clarify the research questions and/or by
offering additional evidence of the phenomenon I asked about.
I am grateful to Richard Hudson and Peter Lauwers for drawing my attention
to some relevant background literature, some of which I was unaware of:
Birdsong, D. 1992. “Ultimate attainment in second language
acquisition”. Language 6. 706-755.
Coppieters, R. 1987. “Competence differences between native and near-
native speakers”. Language 63/3. 544-573.
Gleitman, H. and Gleitman, L. (1970) Phrase and paraphrase:
some innovative uses of language. New York: Norton.
Gleitman, H. and Gleitman, L. (1979). Language use and language judgment.
In Fillmore, C, Kempler, D and Wang, W. (1979) Individual
Differences in Language Ability and Language Behavior. Academic Press, 103-126.
Hyltenstam, K. – Abrahamsson, N. 2000. “Who can become native-like in a
second language? All, some, or none?” Studia Linguistica 54/2. 150-166.
Palmen, M.-J. – Bongaerts, T. – Schils. 1997. “L’authenticité de la
prononciation dans l’acquisition d’une langue étrangère au-delà de la
période critique: des apprenants néerlandais parvenus à un niveau très
avancé en français”. AILE 9. 173-191.
Here, I should also like to cross-reference this summary to Dick Hudson's
summary of a similar topic in 1994 (5.855:
Ingrid Piller drew my attention to her own very interesting paper on
''passing for a native speaker'', which provides a valuable alternative
perspective on the general problem of L1/L2 comparisons:
Piller, I. (2002). Passing for a Native Speaker: Identity and Success in
Second Language Learning. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 6(2), 179-206.
Wander Lowie, Aidan Coveney, Ana Teresa Pérez-Leroux, and Alex Cuza
referred to their own/students' experiments in which (for a variety of
different possible reasons) advanced L2 learners performed better than
natives. (Alex's work focuses on a NS population that I hadn't considered,
namely L1 attriters.):
Coveney, A. 1998 'Awareness of linguistic constraints on variable NE
omission', Journal of French Language Studies, 8:159-187.
Cuza, Alex 2006 The L2 acquisition of aspectual properties in Spanish.
Paper presented at Ontario Dialogues for the Acquisition of Spanish.
Lowie, W. 2005 'Exploring a Second Language: the discovery of
morphological productivity. EuroSLA Yearbook 5. Benjamins, 251-268.
Pérez-Leroux, A. T., and W. R. Glass. 1999. Null anaphora in Spanish SLA.
Second Language Research 15 (2), 220-249.
I am also grateful to Karen Chung, Debra Ziegeler, Paul Radetsky, Konrad
Szczeniak, and an anonymous contributor, for their comments and anecdotal
University of Sheffield
Department of English Language and Linguistics
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