Referent introduction and maintenance - two aspects of informationstructure: A study of a Dutch L1 learner of Swedish
Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
This paper presents an explorative ‘pilot’ study made of oral picture descriptions in the nativetongue as well as in the target language of an intermediate Dutch L1 learner of Swedish (L2).Three Swedish L1 native controls were also recorded describing the same pictures. Therecordings were transcribed, coded and quantitatively analysed for the following aspects ofinformation structure: 1) referent introduction and 2) referent maintenance per type, 3)constituents in the prefield (i.e. clause-initial position) and 4) occurrences ofspatial/existential constructions of referent introduction. The research questions were: DoDutch L1 and Swedish L1 differ in their patterns of information structure in the area ofreferent introduction and maintenance, concerning prefield constituents in picturedescriptions? Does the L2 learner adhere to the target language (Swedish) patterns, thepatterns of his mother tongue (Dutch) or does the interlanguage exhibit different patterns?Differences in frequency emerged, where the Dutch L1 data had substantially higher rates ofsubjects in the prefield than Swedish L1 and where the perspective taken for referentintroduction was largely existential. On the other hand, Swedish L1 showed a greatervariation in the prefield and a pattern of referent introduction that was both spatial andexistential. The learner followed the patterns of his native tongue, in his L2 Swedish, wherethe patterns differed from those of Swedish L1. Transfer was found to be a likely cause ofthis, even though other explanations are not excluded by the results. The strict dichotomy ofspatial/existential perspective of referent introduction proposed by e.g. Carroll et al. (2000)was found to exclude many cases of referent introduction. The main problem with the presentstudy was the small quantity of data, as well as the lack of comparable studies; it is thereforerecommended to repeat this study using a larger amount of data.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. , 83 p.
L2 acquisition, Dutch, Swedish, information structure, referent introduction, referent maintenance, prefield constituents, Carroll & von Stutterheim, Bohnacker & Rosén
Humanities General Language Studies and Linguistics
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-185455OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-185455DiVA: diva2:571835
Bohnacker, Ute, Prof.
Viberg, Åke, Prof.