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postgraduate thesis: Reverse transfer from L3 Portuguese to L2 English in native Chinese learners

TitleReverse transfer from L3 Portuguese to L2 English in native Chinese learners
Authors
Advisors
Issue Date2018
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Xiao, Y. [肖扬]. (2018). Reverse transfer from L3 Portuguese to L2 English in native Chinese learners. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR.
AbstractIn light of recent advances demonstrating the possibility of L3àL2 transfer in third language acquisition (e.g., Cheung, Matthews & Tsang, 2011; Tsang, 2016), this project investigates a novel language group (L1-Chinese, L2-English, L3-Portuguese) and examines L3àL2 transfer in two less-studied domains: verbal agreement (e.g., he likes) and bridging descriptions (e.g., a room...the ceiling) through two parallel studies. The two studies tracked the same Portuguese-major freshmen (N=41) from the University of Macau for one academic year in two tests (pre-test and post-test) in order to see if there was an influence of L3 Portuguese on their L2 English development of the two aforementioned domains, and further compared them at the post-test phase (year-1 group) with their year-4 counterparts (N=34) who shared a comparable English proficiency level at B1 (Independent user) of the Common European Framework and studied Portuguese for almost four academic years in order to see if a longer period of L3 Portuguese learning is associated with greater L3àL2 influence. The longitudinal data demonstrates that learners, after their first year of L3 Portuguese learning, exhibited significant improvement in their attainment of both verbal agreement and bridging descriptions, whereas the cross-sectional data only attested to the positive correlation between L3 study period and the extent of L3àL2 influence in the domain of bridging descriptions. To interpret these results, the thesis adopts a generative approach to reverse transfer, arguing that the L3àL2 influence enhanced learners’ representations of the two L2 functional categories, namely, agreement and definiteness, which they were shown to experience difficulty with in the two respective studies. Furthermore, the investigator proposes two mechanisms by which L3 Portuguese learning experience may help to restructure learners’ representations of the two functional categories agreement and definiteness in L2 English: increase in the use of the function, and increase in the salience of the function. Based on these mechanisms, learners’ representation of agreement, as opposed to definiteness, is assumed to be enhanced more efficiently (e.g., more frequent use, higher salience). This may explain why learners’ performance in verbal agreement might have reached a ceiling effect after the first year of L3 Portuguese study, rendering the difference between them and the year- 4 group non-significant. This generative approach and the two mechanisms proposed in this study provided a micro view on transfer and are strongly recommended for future transfer studies. Also, the study suggests an alternative approach to teaching (i.e., multilingual education) for resourceful institutions, and provides tentative ideas for creative English-teaching activities that might achieve a similar effect to L3 Portuguese.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
SubjectMultilingualism
Language acquisition
Language transfer (Language learning)
Dept/ProgramLinguistics
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/270183

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorMatthews, SJ-
dc.contributor.advisorCrosthwaite, PR-
dc.contributor.authorXiao, Yang-
dc.contributor.author肖扬-
dc.date.accessioned2019-05-20T08:32:08Z-
dc.date.available2019-05-20T08:32:08Z-
dc.date.issued2018-
dc.identifier.citationXiao, Y. [肖扬]. (2018). Reverse transfer from L3 Portuguese to L2 English in native Chinese learners. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR.-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/270183-
dc.description.abstractIn light of recent advances demonstrating the possibility of L3àL2 transfer in third language acquisition (e.g., Cheung, Matthews & Tsang, 2011; Tsang, 2016), this project investigates a novel language group (L1-Chinese, L2-English, L3-Portuguese) and examines L3àL2 transfer in two less-studied domains: verbal agreement (e.g., he likes) and bridging descriptions (e.g., a room...the ceiling) through two parallel studies. The two studies tracked the same Portuguese-major freshmen (N=41) from the University of Macau for one academic year in two tests (pre-test and post-test) in order to see if there was an influence of L3 Portuguese on their L2 English development of the two aforementioned domains, and further compared them at the post-test phase (year-1 group) with their year-4 counterparts (N=34) who shared a comparable English proficiency level at B1 (Independent user) of the Common European Framework and studied Portuguese for almost four academic years in order to see if a longer period of L3 Portuguese learning is associated with greater L3àL2 influence. The longitudinal data demonstrates that learners, after their first year of L3 Portuguese learning, exhibited significant improvement in their attainment of both verbal agreement and bridging descriptions, whereas the cross-sectional data only attested to the positive correlation between L3 study period and the extent of L3àL2 influence in the domain of bridging descriptions. To interpret these results, the thesis adopts a generative approach to reverse transfer, arguing that the L3àL2 influence enhanced learners’ representations of the two L2 functional categories, namely, agreement and definiteness, which they were shown to experience difficulty with in the two respective studies. Furthermore, the investigator proposes two mechanisms by which L3 Portuguese learning experience may help to restructure learners’ representations of the two functional categories agreement and definiteness in L2 English: increase in the use of the function, and increase in the salience of the function. Based on these mechanisms, learners’ representation of agreement, as opposed to definiteness, is assumed to be enhanced more efficiently (e.g., more frequent use, higher salience). This may explain why learners’ performance in verbal agreement might have reached a ceiling effect after the first year of L3 Portuguese study, rendering the difference between them and the year- 4 group non-significant. This generative approach and the two mechanisms proposed in this study provided a micro view on transfer and are strongly recommended for future transfer studies. Also, the study suggests an alternative approach to teaching (i.e., multilingual education) for resourceful institutions, and provides tentative ideas for creative English-teaching activities that might achieve a similar effect to L3 Portuguese.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.-
dc.subject.lcshMultilingualism-
dc.subject.lcshLanguage acquisition-
dc.subject.lcshLanguage transfer (Language learning)-
dc.titleReverse transfer from L3 Portuguese to L2 English in native Chinese learners-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineLinguistics-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.date.hkucongregation2018-
dc.identifier.mmsid991044040574603414-

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