Background crosslinguistic influence (often referred to as ‘transfer’) has been an important factor to consider in the study of foreign language acquisition in general In foreign language acquisition, the learner starts off with at least one fully acquired linguistic system.
CLI or Transfer? Crosslinguistic influence is intended as a more comprehensive term as it considers the interaction between all existing linguistic system(s) during the process of third (or subsequent) language acquisition rather than assuming the L1 as the only potential source of transfer.
CLI or Transfer? CLI studies have shown that an existing second language, even if not acquired completely, can interfere in the performance of the L3.
Some terminology Transfer: the L1 influence on the TL. Interlanguage transfer (lexical or morphological): the interaction of a non- primary language with a third or subsequent one. Crosslinguistic influence: all existing linguistic systems play an equally important role in the acquisition process of a TL.
Transfer in SLA only the primary language plays a role in the acquisition process of a foreign one.
Transfer in TLA Considers all of the previously known languages to play an equally important role when it comes to possible interactions between the target language and the existing one(s). The presence of more linguistic systems in the mind of an L3 learner will not only increase the number of potential interactions that can take place, but also alter the course of these interactions.
Why study CLI in TLA? It motivates a more inclusive theory of transfer as it carefully considers all existing systems in the learner’s mind and It imposes a re-evaluation of the already existing theories and the relevance of their claims.
Why does transfer occur?Possible explanation learning is facilitated if the learner is able to relate a new item or task to existing previous knowledge. learner will constantly seek to facilitate the language-learning task by making use of previously acquired linguistic knowledge
Factors that determine CLI What are the factors that trigger one language to be activated over another when it comes to learning a foreign language?
Factors that determine CLI Typology The L2 Proficiency Level
The Role of Typology Considered to be one of the most influential factors when it comes to transfer. It is intuitive to assume that when it comes to CLI, speakers will borrow more from a language that is typologically closer to the target language.
Notes on Typology Language relatedness: proximity/distance based on how languages are genetically related. Languages from different ‘families’ sharing one particular structure. Lerner’s perception of the proximity between languages he/she knows (psychotypology)
The role of the L2 Initially Meisel (1982): The Foreign Language Effect Recently Hammarberg (2001): The L2 Status Factor
The role of the L2 learners tend to use the L2 (or languages other than the L1) as the source of cross- linguistic influence
The L2 Factor: for example Studies on non-Europeans who acquire their second European language support this idea: Hindi and Chinese speakers with knowledge of English who acquire German as their third language will transfer mainly from their L2 English onto their L3 (Chandrasekhar, 1978; Vogel, 1992).
The L2 Factor: some explanations Deliberately avoided using elements from her L1 in fear of “sounding ridiculous”. Williams and Hammarberg (2009) Two psycholinguistic constraints: perception of correctness and association of foreignness.
The L2 Factor: some explanations “Perception of correctness predicts that multilinguals resist incorporating L1 information into the target language as L1 information is perceived to be incorrect from the start […]. Association of foreigness refers to the cognitive association that learners establish between non-native languages, which are assigned the common status of ‘foreign languages’”. (De Angelis 2007: 29)
Proficiency Level In TLA proficiency must be considered, not only in the target language, but also in the other non-native language(s) known by the speaker.
Proficiency LevelLogical assumption: high proficiency in a background language would make this language more likely to play a role in the acquisition of a new one.However, low proficiency in a background language is also a factor to be considered in CLI (De Angelis, 2005).
Other Factors Age: in TLA the main claim is that older children have a more accurate perception of linguistic distance that could influence the source language they use when transferring. Recency: learners are more likely to borrow from a language that they actively use rather than from other languages that they know but do not often use.