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The development of gender attribution and gender agreement in French

Granfeldt, Jonas LU (2004) In Focus on French as a Foreign Language. Multidisciplinary Approaches
Abstract
This study aims to explore the development in child and adult grammars of a noun-related feature in French, namely gender. In brief, previous research has shown that gender assignment and gender agreement in a language such as French is just as easy for the mono- or bilingual child (Carroll, 1989; Clark, 1985; Müller, 1990, 1994) as it is difficult for the (adult) L2 learner (Bartning, 2000; Carroll, 1989, 1999; Dewaele & Véronique, 2000, 2002; Harley, 1979; Hawkins, 1998, 2001b). In their own right, these findings make it interesting to compare the development of gender in an age and/or an L1-L2 perspective, but to date few such comparative studies have been carried out (but see Andersson, 1992 on Swedish). Furthermore, since gender... (More)
This study aims to explore the development in child and adult grammars of a noun-related feature in French, namely gender. In brief, previous research has shown that gender assignment and gender agreement in a language such as French is just as easy for the mono- or bilingual child (Carroll, 1989; Clark, 1985; Müller, 1990, 1994) as it is difficult for the (adult) L2 learner (Bartning, 2000; Carroll, 1989, 1999; Dewaele & Véronique, 2000, 2002; Harley, 1979; Hawkins, 1998, 2001b). In their own right, these findings make it interesting to compare the development of gender in an age and/or an L1-L2 perspective, but to date few such comparative studies have been carried out (but see Andersson, 1992 on Swedish). Furthermore, since gender classification of individual nouns differs from one language to another, it must be learnt by exposure to input. Therefore, studying how gender is acquired might help to discover specific properties of different modes of acquisition.



In this study, a cross-learner perspective is adopted, comparing the acquisition of gender in two different modes of acquisition: the acquisition of French as a second language at an adult stage (L1= Swedish) and the acquisition of French as one of two first languages where the other language is Swedish.



With respect to L2 acquisition of French gender, previous research has typically used cross-sectional data. This research has established the scope and the generality of the problem across (other) individual differences and across speakers' L1s (for example English, Flemish, and Swedish). From this research we have substantial facts about "the problem stage". Much less seems to be known about if and how adult second language learners can develop further with respect to gender.



In the present study, a longitudinal perspective on gender acquisition is therefore adopted. Previous cross-sectional research (Bartning, 2000) suggests that learners at lower levels of proficiency make more errors with respect to gender agreement than do advanced learners. The adult learners in this study have been subject to other studies of grammatical development concerning the clause and the noun phrase and have been found to develop in several areas (cf., Granfeldt, 2000a and b; Granfeldt & Schlyter, forthcoming; Schlyter, 1997, this volume and forthcoming). This study asks the question of whether a general development can be established within individual learners with respect to gender.



The longitudinal perspective also allows for a closer inspection of the different modes of acquisition. The paper asks the question of whether there are qualitative differences between the way gender is acquired by the children and by the adults, and in particular how the development itself proceeds in the two cases. It will, in fact, be demonstrated that there are differences in the way gender is acquired by the children and the adults. (Less)
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subject
keywords
articles, adjectives, nouns, bilingual children, adult learners, gender, acquisition, French, Swedish
in
Focus on French as a Foreign Language. Multidisciplinary Approaches
editor
Dewaele, Jean-Marc
publisher
Multilingual Matters
ISBN
1-85359-766-X
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
e97ec322-cab9-4282-ad51-7f3c0e060ab0 (old id 527827)
date added to LUP
2007-09-13 21:33:48
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2016-04-16 09:29:38
@misc{e97ec322-cab9-4282-ad51-7f3c0e060ab0,
  abstract     = {This study aims to explore the development in child and adult grammars of a noun-related feature in French, namely gender. In brief, previous research has shown that gender assignment and gender agreement in a language such as French is just as easy for the mono- or bilingual child (Carroll, 1989; Clark, 1985; Müller, 1990, 1994) as it is difficult for the (adult) L2 learner (Bartning, 2000; Carroll, 1989, 1999; Dewaele &amp; Véronique, 2000, 2002; Harley, 1979; Hawkins, 1998, 2001b). In their own right, these findings make it interesting to compare the development of gender in an age and/or an L1-L2 perspective, but to date few such comparative studies have been carried out (but see Andersson, 1992 on Swedish). Furthermore, since gender classification of individual nouns differs from one language to another, it must be learnt by exposure to input. Therefore, studying how gender is acquired might help to discover specific properties of different modes of acquisition.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
In this study, a cross-learner perspective is adopted, comparing the acquisition of gender in two different modes of acquisition: the acquisition of French as a second language at an adult stage (L1= Swedish) and the acquisition of French as one of two first languages where the other language is Swedish. <br/><br>
<br/><br>
With respect to L2 acquisition of French gender, previous research has typically used cross-sectional data. This research has established the scope and the generality of the problem across (other) individual differences and across speakers' L1s (for example English, Flemish, and Swedish). From this research we have substantial facts about "the problem stage". Much less seems to be known about if and how adult second language learners can develop further with respect to gender. <br/><br>
<br/><br>
In the present study, a longitudinal perspective on gender acquisition is therefore adopted. Previous cross-sectional research (Bartning, 2000) suggests that learners at lower levels of proficiency make more errors with respect to gender agreement than do advanced learners. The adult learners in this study have been subject to other studies of grammatical development concerning the clause and the noun phrase and have been found to develop in several areas (cf., Granfeldt, 2000a and b; Granfeldt &amp; Schlyter, forthcoming; Schlyter, 1997, this volume and forthcoming). This study asks the question of whether a general development can be established within individual learners with respect to gender. <br/><br>
<br/><br>
The longitudinal perspective also allows for a closer inspection of the different modes of acquisition. The paper asks the question of whether there are qualitative differences between the way gender is acquired by the children and by the adults, and in particular how the development itself proceeds in the two cases. It will, in fact, be demonstrated that there are differences in the way gender is acquired by the children and the adults.},
  author       = {Granfeldt, Jonas},
  editor       = {Dewaele, Jean-Marc},
  isbn         = {1-85359-766-X},
  keyword      = {articles,adjectives,nouns,bilingual children,adult learners,gender,acquisition,French,Swedish},
  language     = {eng},
  publisher    = {ARRAY(0x9b5bf30)},
  series       = {Focus on French as a Foreign Language. Multidisciplinary Approaches},
  title        = {The development of gender attribution and gender agreement in French},
  year         = {2004},
}