Grammatical features influencing information structure: The case of L1 and L2 Dutch and English

Author: Suzan van Ierland
LOT Number: 245
ISBN: 978-94-6093-020-1
Pages: 282
Year: 2010
€34.00
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Grammatical features
influencing information structure
The case of L1 and L2 Dutch and English

All people tell stories. But what happens, when you’re asked to tell a story in a
language that is not yours? In this dissertation I research storytelling and event
retelling by speakers of Dutch and English, in their native language, but also
in their second language. I pay special attention to those aspects of grammar
that could influence information structure.

The experiments in this thesis show that word order and progressive aspect are
important grammatical features for deciding how to structure your informa-
tion. However, the results also show that even though native speakers of
English and Dutch behave very differently, it is possible for some very advanced
learners to perform native-like in their second language.

Theoretically, these results present evidence against Levelt’s implication that
language-specific requirements only come into play at the microplanning
level. Slobin’s model of ‘thinking for speaking’ cannot explain the results either.
Therefore, in the final chapter, an adapted model of language production is
proposed.

Grammatical features
influencing information structure
The case of L1 and L2 Dutch and English

All people tell stories. But what happens, when you’re asked to tell a story in a
language that is not yours? In this dissertation I research storytelling and event
retelling by speakers of Dutch and English, in their native language, but also
in their second language. I pay special attention to those aspects of grammar
that could influence information structure.

The experiments in this thesis show that word order and progressive aspect are
important grammatical features for deciding how to structure your informa-
tion. However, the results also show that even though native speakers of
English and Dutch behave very differently, it is possible for some very advanced
learners to perform native-like in their second language.

Theoretically, these results present evidence against Levelt’s implication that
language-specific requirements only come into play at the microplanning
level. Slobin’s model of ‘thinking for speaking’ cannot explain the results either.
Therefore, in the final chapter, an adapted model of language production is
proposed.

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