|Title:||The Oral Comprehension of Clitics by L2 Learners of French||Add Dissertation|
|Author:||Valerie Wust||Update Dissertation|
|Email:||click here to access email|
|Institution:||University of Alberta, Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies|
|Linguistic Subfield(s):||Applied Linguistics;|
|Abstract:||This dissertation presents empirical data from a classroom-based study
designed to investigate the extent to which second language (L2) learners
of French are able to process and reproduce clitics during listening
comprehension tasks. The learners were post-secondary students registered
in a first-year, intermediate-level French language course in Canada.
This dissertation is comprised of three papers. The first paper addresses
how the French pronominal system is acquired by monolingual, bilingual,
specifically-language impaired, and L2 learners. In this paper, I present
the similarities and differences in how learners from varied backgrounds
acquire pronominalization, identifying both universal difficulties and
those that pertain only to specific learner populations.
The second paper reports on a quantitative examination of university-level
L2 French learners’ ability to process and replicate the meaning of object
clitics on a L2-L1 translation. Performance varied according to the
inherent characteristics of object clitics (i.e., grammatical function,
gender and animacy), L2 proficiency level, and total amount of exposure to
The study described in the third paper made use of a dictogloss task to
determine whether an observed paucity of object clitics in L2 production
means that these forms go unnoticed in the input. Data from the
reconstructed texts was analyzed for the presence or absence of verbs which
acted as ‘triggers’ for the clitics y and en in the original text. A
qualitative analysis of the data revealed interlanguage forms that were in
competition in obligatory pronominalization contexts in addition to
specific auditory perception difficulties. Deleted objects, strong (i.e.
free-standing) pronouns, and lexical noun phrases were used with greater
frequency than object clitics and students’ primary source of nontargetlike
form usage was attributable to argument structure/case assignment.
Based on the research findings it is suggested that teachers might do well
to explore interpretation-based instruction (Ellis, 1995) as a means of
focusing students’ attention on object clitics in the input and sensitizing
students to their phonological form in order to help these learners
comprehend and acquire clitics.