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Summary Details

Query:   'Outperforming' Native Speakers
Author:  Nigel Duffield
Submitter Email:  click here to access email
Linguistic LingField(s):   Language Acquisition

Summary:   Regarding query:

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

Nigel Duffield
University of Sheffield
Department of English Language and Linguistics

LL Issue: 17.1396
Date Posted: 06-May-2006


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