Transfer during the first hours of learning a second language: Evidence from English and German adult learners’ acquisition of the Polish case system.

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There is an ongoing debate about how much transfer occurs when adult learners acquire a novel language system. However, not much attention has been paid to the earliest stages of second language acquisition, i.e. the first hours of receiving input. The project VILLA (‘Varieties of Learners in Language Acquisition: Controlled classroom input and elementary forms of linguistic organisation’) has been set up in order to gather data that enables research into the first hours of acquisition (Dimroth et al. 2013). Groups with several different L1s were exposed to fourteen hours of input in Polish. With this data, some research has already been done. Hinz et al. (2013) have compared German and French learners and have found that the German group was able to transfer knowledge of the case system of their L1 to the L2. This thesis presents evidence from German and English learners of Polish, focusing on a grammaticality judgment task administered twice during the experimental period of the VILLA project, concluding that transfer from the L1 does indeed take place.
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