General programme, activity sheet

Thursday 18 September, 2014 11:00 to 11:30 Oral presentation
Oral and written morphosyntax: A longitudinal study of L1 & L2 French
Authors: Alexandra Marquis, Dominique Bédard, Brigitte Stanké, Phaedra Royle, Susan Rvachew


The French writing system presents difficulties for young learners due to orthographic/phonological opacity. Many children living in Montréal (Québec, Canada) are first exposed to oral French only when entering the educational system. The goal of this study is to compare oral and written morphosyntax in L1 and L2 children. We present data from 3 tasks: 1) oral morphosyntax (past tense production Marquis et al., 2012) in year one, and in year two 2) written morphosyntax (multiple choice task: Paul a/*as/*à une amie ‘Paul has/have/at a friend’ adapted from Fayol et al. (2006), and 3) written dictation (BELO, Pech-Georgel & George, 2006). We compared 38 monolingual French-speaking children (L1) and 33 children learning French as a second or third language (L2), and studied the possible correlations between tasks. Based on previous research, we expected a significant difference between L1 and L2 children for the oral task, and no difference for the written tasks. We also expected to observe positive correlations between tasks. L1 children produced verbs more accurately (84%) than L2 children (66%), p = .01. There was no significant difference between groups for the written tasks. Moreover, significant positive correlations were observed between the oral and written morphosyntax tasks (r = 0.24, p =.05) and between the dictation and written morphosyntax task (r = 0.46, p < .001). The oral task’s results suggest that L1 children take advantage of their exposure to French since birth. For written French, both groups show similar benefits from explicit teaching exposure. These results challenge received wisdom that bilingualism delays acquisition of complex aspects of language like morphosyntax. The present study provides better understanding of children’s acquisition of French as a second language and stresses the importance of evaluating both oral and written skills with standardized tests with multilingual and monolingual children.
Further information:

Submited paper (17 KB)

Paper session A1
Place: Room 0

Other activities in Paper session A1
11:30 h. to 12:00 h.Oral presentation

Code switching: the origin of syntactic dependencies
12:00 h. to 12:30 h.Oral presentation

The role of input in the acquisition of mood by heritage speakers of European Portuguese


Organizers, sponsors, collaborators