The acquisition of preposition + article contractions in L3 portuguese among different L1-speaking learners: A variationist approach

Adriana Picoral, Ana Maria Carvalho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This paper sheds light on the paths of third language (L3) acquisition of Portuguese by Spanish–English speakers whose first language is Spanish (L1 Spanish), English (L1 English), or both in the case of heritage speakers of Spanish (HL). Specifically, it looks at the gradual acquisition of a categorical rule in Portuguese, where some prepositions are invariably contracted with the determiner that follows them. Based on a corpus of 1910 written assignments by Portuguese L3 learners, we extracted 21,879 tokens in obligatory contraction contexts and submitted them to a multivariate analysis. This analysis allowed for the investigation of the impact of linguistic (type of preposition and definite article number and gender) and extra-linguistic factors (course level and learner’s language background), with logistic regression modeling with sum contrasts and individual as a random effect. While results point to some clear similarities across the three language groups—all learners acquired the contractions in a u-shaped progression and used more contractions with the a preposition and fewer with the por preposition—participants acquire contractions at a higher rate when the article is singular than when it is plural, and in the case of HL speakers, more so when the article is masculine than when it is feminine. These results confirm the facilitatory role of a previously acquired language (i.e., Spanish) that is typologically similar to the target language (i.e., Portuguese) in transfer patterns during L3 acquisition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number45
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalLanguages
Volume5
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2020

Keywords

  • Morphology
  • Third language acquisition
  • Usage-based approach

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Linguistics and Language
  • Language and Linguistics

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