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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

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Dissertation Information

Title: The Role of French-based Creole in the Acquisition of Standard French: The case of Mauritius Add Dissertation
Author: Hema Napal Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Trinity College Dublin, M.Phil. programmes in Linguistics, Speech and Language Processing, Applied Linguistics, English Language Teaching
Completed in: 2005
Linguistic Subfield(s): Language Acquisition;
Subject Language(s): French
Director(s): Rachel Hoare

Abstract: This thesis investigates the acquisition of French as a second language in the multilingual environment of Mauritius.

Mauritius has been chosen because of its linguistic complexity, diversity and wealth. Whilst the indigenous language is Mauritian Creole, English has the status of written official language and French that of official spoken language. The regional French variety of Mauritius is widely spoken on the island and in fact, most of the inhabitants are fluent in it.

The project explores the theoretical perspectives associated with the process of second language acquisition. The theories of language acquisition will be outlined and the various strategies language learners employ in order to facilitate the process of second language acquisition are examined. The sociolinguistic situation in Mauritius is introduced to the readers before exploring the features specific to Kréol Morisyen, the lingua franca of Mauritius. The linguistic characteristics of Kréol Morisyen are compared to those of Standard French and sources of difficulty in French language acquisition are discussed from the perspective of the multilingual Mauritian language learner.

The project investigates those features that make learners’ language different from native speakers’ production in the same language variety. To that effect, data collection was organised. The data analysis was divided into two parts. The first part focused on the particularities of learners’ language, examining:
-methods of lexical selection
-organisation of the lexico-grammatical structures of the two language systems;
-cross-linguistic connectivity between the source language (English) and the target language (French) in the case of the French native speakers; and
-lexical errors relating to the misconception of grammatical structures and lexico-semantic organisation.

The second part of the data analysis focused on those linguistic features specific to the L2 and their effects on language learners’ production. Inaccuracies and language learners’ intentional restricted access to certain lexical items were accounted for as a learning strategy to facilitate the process of language acquisition. However, it was observed that such strategies lead to fossilization of lexical errors.

The contrastive interlanguage analysis previously employed by Granger (1998) is the chosen approach for the data analysis. The language behaviour of the French native speakers is used as the norm against which the performance of non-native speakers is being considered. The vocabulary chosen by the learners in Mauritius is analysed and contrasted with the lexical choices of the native speakers within the same context in an attempt to identify aspects of non-nativeness in learners’ production in the target language (Standard French).