On Friday, 22nd October, 2021, at 2pm (GMT),  Joana Zahner da Silva Matos  will defend her PhD thesis  in Language Sciences, German Linguistics  to a panel at The University of Minho. The PhD defense is a public event, and you can join by clicking on the Zoom link below. For more information, please see below.

Title:

“Kland, Kländer, Klanden? Aquisição do plural por falantes portugueses de alemão língua segunda”

How to join:

The defense will be presented via Zoom.  The link to the event is provided below, along with the ID code and Password.

Zoom: https://videoconf-colibri.zoom.us/j/88446608616?pwd=N0NYeDlXYnllZERyYXhCQXREbGhCZz09&from=addon  

ID: 884 4660 8616

Password: 280633

Abstract:

In the acquisition of the nominal morphology of German as a first language (L1) plural markers appear early but their stabilisation occurs late, around 6 years of age (Kauschke et al., 2011). As far as the acquisition of German as a second language (L2) is concerned, most empirical studies have focused on the successive acquisition of two languages in childhood (Günay, 2016). These show that L2 children at an initial stage also employ overgeneralization strategies and that the differences with respect to L1 acquisition are quantitative rather than qualitative in nature. The present experimental study focuses on the acquisition of the German plural by native speakers of European Portuguese (EP) who started acquiring German from adolescence onwards. We aim to abstract the pluralization patterns applied by these speakers, identifying the strategies used in the initial phase of acquisition and assessing whether crosslinguistic influence effects are observable. The influence that certain linguistic and extralinguistic factors, such as lexical knowledge, amount and type of exposure to the target language and motivation, may have on the selection of L2 plural morphemes is also analysed.

We tested 120 speakers, divided into three groups: L2 (n=80), 2L1 (n=20) and L1 (n=20). The linguistic tasks applied include a lexical decision test, a plural elicitation task with nonce words and an elicitation task targeting the case system. In addition, a detailed sociolinguistic questionnaire was also applied. The main results show that at an early stage of acquisition L2 speakers employ pluralisation strategies based on frequency criteria and much more gender-based when compared to L1 and 2L1 speakers. Higher proficiency levels, as well as greater exposure to the target language and greater motivation are significantly associated with a progression in pluralisation patterns and the production of later-acquired plurals. The reduced use of the {-s} morpheme, that is the regular plural marker in Portuguese, shows that it was not overgeneralised and that there is no crosslinguistic influence from the L1. The 2L1 speakers are very close to the L1 speakers as far as the use of plural morphemes is concerned. However, as they are returnee speakers, some effects of the reduced exposure to German on the later acquired forms can already be observed, which may be interpreted as effects of language attrition.

Keywords: L2 German; late L2 acquisition; 2L1 returnee speakers; plural.

Members of the PhD committee:

Prof. Isabel Cristina Costa Alves Ermida (President), Escola de Letras, Artes e Ciências Humanas da Universidade do Minho.

Prof. Ana Maria Lavadinho Madeira, Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas da Universidade Nova de Lisboa;

Prof. Ana Margarida Abrantes, Faculdade de Ciências Humanas da Universidade Católica;

Prof. Maria do Pilar Barbosa, Escola de Letras, Artes e Ciências Humanas da Universidade do Minho;

Prof. Cristina Maria Moreira Flores (supervisor), Escola de Letras, Artes e Ciências Humanas da Universidade do Minho;

Prof. Idalete Maria Silva Dias, Escola de Letras, Artes e Ciências Humanas da Universidade do Minho.