THE BEGINNINGearly 1990s Vogel 1992: one of the first studies on the topic
VOGEL (1992) L1 Mandarin / L2 English speaker, acquiring German as an L3Chinese and German: verb final languages (V fin) English is not (V nonfin )
VOGEL (1992): FINDINGS one of first studies to identify syntactic transfer from a non-native language onto an L3evidence of L2 English influence on the acquisition of L3 German: the subject in the study produced [SV fin V nonfin O] structures
ZOBL (1992)One of the first studies to investigate multilingualism from a generative perspective.MAIN QUESTION:Does prior linguistic knowledge lead to the creation of more or less conservative grammars in multilinguals?
GENERAL ASSUMPTION AT THE TIME ZOBL (1992)wide grammarsmultilinguals tend to overgeneralize hypothesis about the language and therefore have a higher acceptance rate with respect to ungrammatical sentences
ZOBL (1992)based on various judgment testsResults:multilinguals are in fact, less restrictive in a new language (than monolinguals)multilinguals seem to create less conservative and therefore more powerful grammars
KLEIN (1995)further investigates whether multilingual grammars are in fact different from those of monolingualsTHE STUDYacquisition of verbs and their prepositional elements particularly the case of preposition fronting and stranding
KLEIN (1995)English allows two options: the preposition is stranded and fronted Eg: [At what i] are you looking [ PP t i]?] the preposition is stranded and only the object is extracted and fronted Eg: [What i] are you looking [ PPat [ti]]?
KLEIN (1995)HYPOTHESISmultilinguals would show an advantage over monolinguals in the acquisition of preposition stranding
KLEIN (1995): FINDINGSmultilinguals acquired this specific characteristic of English faster than monolinguals did, even though they had not previously acquired a language with this structure
KLEIN (1995): CONCLUSIONSmultilinguals benefit from higher multilingual awarenessMultilinguals follow a less “conservative” learning process (confirming Zobl, 1992)
MILESTONE IN L3 SYNTAX STUDIESthe 2001 conference on multilingualism that took place in the NetherlandsFour key papers:Bardel 2002;Leung 2002;Sjorgen 2002 Vinnitskaya et al. 2002
VINNITSKAYA ET AL. (2002)the acquisition of the English Complementizer Phrase (CP) by three different groups of learners: 1.L1 Kazakh and L2 Russian, 2.L1 Spanish 3.L1 Japanese
VINNITSKAYA ET AL. (2002)The structure of the CP is dependent on the head directionality of a languageEnglish, Spanish and Russian are head- initial languages and Kazakh and Japanese are head-final languages.
VINNITSKAYA ET AL. (2002) FINDINGSGroups (1) and (2) behaved in a similar wayGroup (3) behaved in a very different way
VINNITSKAYA ET AL. (2002) CONCLUSIONthis difference was due to the fact that the L1Japanese group had not yet acquired the head-initial parameter whereas the first two groups had done so either in their L1 or their L2.
GENERATIVE L3: LEUNG (2002, 2005)addressed the question of UG access and transfer of morphosynax in L3 acquisition by studying features associated with the Number and the Determiner Phrase
LEUNG (2005)continuation of the 2002 study with two groups of learners of French: 1.One L1 Cantonese/L2 English group 2.one L1 Vietnamese with no L2 group
LEUNG (2005): RESULTStransfer from both the L1 and the L2 in L3 syntax
LEUNG (2006)further extended the 2005 study to include the acquisition of tense and agreement featuresTESTEDFull Transfer Full Access (FTFA) hypothesis (Schwartz and Sprouse, 1996)
LEUNG (2006): FINDINGSthere is a difference between acquiring French as a second language and acquiring it as a third one. found transfer from L2 English into L3 French, but not transfer from L1 Cantonese onto L2 French
LEUNG (2006): CONCLUSIONSthis difference is due to typological proximity between one of the background languages and the target language.HOWEVER, if there is no evidence in the input of a specific feature, it will not be transferred from any background language.
NA RANONG AND LEUNG (2009)challenge the findings of Leung (2006) by looking at two different groups of speakers: L1 Thai, L2 English and L3 Chinese L1 English and L2 Chinese.
NA RANONG AND LEUNG (2009): FINDINGSno clear instance of L2 transferCONCLUSIONL1 plays a privileged role in both L2 and L3 acquisition of syntaxit might be the case that transfer from the language that is typologically closer to the target language is favoured
NA RANONG AND LEUNG (2009): NOTEfindings from this study are in contradiction with those by Leung (2005, 2006) where the author found no preference for L1 transfer.