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Examining the effects of cross-linguistic awareness on the acquisition of English possessive determiners: The case of Brazilian Portuguese

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Examining the effects of cross-linguistic awareness on the acquisition of English possessive determiners: The case of Brazilian Portuguese

Apaloo, Marie (2019) Examining the effects of cross-linguistic awareness on the acquisition of English possessive determiners: The case of Brazilian Portuguese. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Research shows that English possessive determiners (PDs) such as his and her are a challenge for L2 learners to acquire, and this difficulty has been attributed to several factors, including negative L1 transfer effects (White, Muñoz, & Collins, 2007). What researchers have not yet considered is how PDs are acquired by learners whose L1 predicts positive transfer effects.
To address this issue, the present study investigated the PD interlanguage of Brazilian Portuguese (BP) speakers. Unlike previously studied L1 groups, BP has a PD system that is similar to English in that grammatical gender of the PD is determined by the possessor (BP: o carro dele/dela, English: his/her car). The research questions we addressed were: (1) How does the PD interlanguage development of BP speakers compare with that of other L1 groups (as outlined in White’s (1998) framework)? (2) Are BP-speaking learners who are aware of the connection between dele/dela and his/her are more accurate in their use of English PDs than those who are not? and (3) Do teachers use learners’ L1 knowledge in their teaching of PDs? Adopting some of White’s (1998) methodology, the following instruments were used to answer these questions: two written (e.g., fill-in the blanks with his/her) and two oral tasks (e.g., picture descriptions) to assess students’ PD performance, stimulated recall interviews with learners to measure cross-linguistic awareness, and interviews with teachers to determine their pedagogical approach. The results showed that BP speaking learners exhibited advantages in their acquisition of his and her in comparison to previously studied L1 groups. Furthermore, students with awareness of the cross-linguistic dele/dela rule outperformed those who were unaware of the rule on two of the three tasks that were compared, although teachers negated any use of cross-linguistic pedagogies to teach PDs. These findings contribute to the research suggesting that pedagogical approaches that build awareness of L1/L2 similarities could be effective for supporting language learning

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Education
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Apaloo, Marie
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Applied Linguistics
Date:September 2019
Thesis Supervisor(s):Cardoso, Walcir
Keywords:cross-linguistic influence, Brazilian Portuguese, language awareness
ID Code:985908
Deposited By: Marie Emily Apaloo
Deposited On:14 Nov 2019 15:18
Last Modified:14 Nov 2019 15:18
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