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Grammatical gender in Italian by Swedish-speaking L2 learners: a third age perspective

Lami, Irene LU (2016) SPVR01 20162
Master's Programme: Language and Linguistics
Italian Studies
Abstract
The language learning process by third age learners has recently become a field of interest for linguistic research. However, it has been studied mostly regarding psychological and cognitive considerations (stress, motivation, attention, memory, etc.), rather than according to language internal factors.
The present study aims to provide a contribution by investigating the mastery of Italian grammatical gender by third-age Swedish native speakers who are learning Italian as an L2. 
The study wants to verify if there are any particular patterns in grammatical gender learning according to the age of the learners, with a focus on third age, especially regarding formal cues (such as phonology, morphology, syntax) vs. semantics.
Our research... (More)
The language learning process by third age learners has recently become a field of interest for linguistic research. However, it has been studied mostly regarding psychological and cognitive considerations (stress, motivation, attention, memory, etc.), rather than according to language internal factors.
The present study aims to provide a contribution by investigating the mastery of Italian grammatical gender by third-age Swedish native speakers who are learning Italian as an L2. 
The study wants to verify if there are any particular patterns in grammatical gender learning according to the age of the learners, with a focus on third age, especially regarding formal cues (such as phonology, morphology, syntax) vs. semantics.
Our research shows that elderly learners seem to be sensitive to semantics, while younger learners seem to be more sensitive to phonology and syntax; psychological factors seem not to play an important role.
Moreover, contrarily to our hypotheses, we found that elderly informants show a much greater homogeneity in their results, in comparison to young informants, and a greater ability in problem solving.
Another interesting finding is that, in general, elderly informants outperform younger ones who had spent an equal amount of time attending Italian lessons.
In sum: psychological explanations do not seem to justify an age differentiation in gender learning, while language internal factors seem to be at the basis of a general, age-dependent, differentiation. (Less)
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author
Lami, Irene LU
supervisor
organization
course
SPVR01 20162
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Foreign language learning, age, Italian L2, grammatical gender, gender agreement, geragogics, gerontology.
language
English
id
8894237
date added to LUP
2016-11-03 16:53:40
date last changed
2016-11-03 16:53:40
@misc{8894237,
  abstract     = {The language learning process by third age learners has recently become a field of interest for linguistic research. However, it has been studied mostly regarding psychological and cognitive considerations (stress, motivation, attention, memory, etc.), rather than according to language internal factors.
The present study aims to provide a contribution by investigating the mastery of Italian grammatical gender by third-age Swedish native speakers who are learning Italian as an L2. 
The study wants to verify if there are any particular patterns in grammatical gender learning according to the age of the learners, with a focus on third age, especially regarding formal cues (such as phonology, morphology, syntax) vs. semantics.
Our research shows that elderly learners seem to be sensitive to semantics, while younger learners seem to be more sensitive to phonology and syntax; psychological factors seem not to play an important role.
Moreover, contrarily to our hypotheses, we found that elderly informants show a much greater homogeneity in their results, in comparison to young informants, and a greater ability in problem solving. 
Another interesting finding is that, in general, elderly informants outperform younger ones who had spent an equal amount of time attending Italian lessons.
In sum: psychological explanations do not seem to justify an age differentiation in gender learning, while language internal factors seem to be at the basis of a general, age-dependent, differentiation.},
  author       = {Lami, Irene},
  keyword      = {Foreign language learning,age,Italian L2,grammatical gender,gender agreement,geragogics,gerontology.},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Grammatical gender in Italian by Swedish-speaking L2 learners: a third age perspective},
  year         = {2016},
}