Journal Review: Source Of Syntactic Cross-linguistic Influence

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Journal title : Source(s) of syntactic cross-linguistic influence (CLI): The case of L3 acquisition of English possessives by Mazandarani–Persian bilinguals

Writer and local institution : Nader Fallah, Ali Akbar Jabbari and Ali Mohammad Fazilatfar - Yazd University, Iran.


The study investigates English as third language acquisition by people who are using Mazandarani and Persian as their language acquisition. The data have been carried out by 31 student, age 13-14 years old. The test is done by placing of attributive possessive in grammatical judgment task, an element rearrangement task, and an elicited oral imitation task. There consists three group participations, the first two groups use Mazandarani as first language acquisition and Persian as second language acquisition, but differ from each other with respect to the language of communication. And the third group use Persian as the first language and Mazandarani as second language acquisition.

This research aims to investigate the source of cross linguistic to L3, in case L1 and L2 are obtained during childhood and L3 is obtained in formal foreign language context in adolescence. And the second aims to investigate the role of “language communication” in CLI to L3. The researchers use experimental research to the three group of participations. The researchers use some theories by L1 and L2 factors that influence to L3. Hawkins and Chan stated that L1 is no longer for the activation for input L2 and L3. Therefore L2 and L3 inter-language grammar would be limited by L1 features value. The strong theories claim, L1 is the only possible for transfer. L2 also be a strong role in L3 acquisition, indicates to the value of cognitive and situational aspects (Bard and Falk 2007&2011).

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The results are the three groups completely do the tasks namely GJT (Grammaticality Judgment Task), ERT (Element Rearrangement Task), and EOIT (Elicited Oral Imitation Task). Manzandarani A, Mazandarani as language communication has the highest performance task than the other groups. As their performance 80% from the sentences are correct, they more understand English, nor in grammatically judgment, rearrangement, and oral imitation task. In GJT task there consist of 40 question to answer, 20 types are possessive structure; 10 of apostrophe (‘s) and 10 of possessive determiners. The rest of items are grammatical error or distracters to comprehend the structure in English. In ERT there consists of 40 items, 20 types of possessive structures; 10 of apostrophe (‘s) and 10 of possessive determiners.

The rest of items are distracters sentences. And eventually in EOIT there consists of 20 sentences containing the target structures, 10 of grammatical structures and 10 of ungrammatical structures. The data show that Mazandarani was the origin of CLI, indeed the language communication is Mazandarani, it expect to the researchers, the structure of Mazandarani language has a dominant structures to English structures whether it is L1 or L2. But the researchers still need unpacking, that typological/structural similarity or the L2 Status Factor does not play a role in L3 acquisition based on the results of this study, since the nature of the participants, the situations in which they acquired the L1 and the L2 and the nature of the background languages.

This journal indeed in the context of L3 acquisition, always has some factors that influences L3 values inter-language grammar itself by the test of syntactical relationship, of course such as L1 and L2 factors, because some language might be dominant have same syntactical structures, absolutely like Mazandarani and English structures. The other studies verify this journal such as William and Hammarberg’s study (1998), they research L3 Swedish, with L1 English and L2 German.

In fact L2 German was assigned the supplier role, Hammarberg and Hammarberg (2005) and Hammarberg (2009) showed that L2 German influenced L3 Swedish, especially at the initial stage of acquisition, thus lending support to the role of German as a supplier language. This factor has been further developed in the work by Bono (2011) investigated the role of L1 French and L2 English in spoken Spanish L3, by using a slightly modified version of the Williams and Hammarberg model. The results showed that the learners mainly used their L1, French, in the instrumental role, thus corroborating the results of Williams and Hammarberg’s study.

In grammatical context compares to Mazandarani and English, Possessive (‘s) and possessive determiners in Mazandarani is placed after the noun like English language. In Mazandarani ‘That is Ali’s book’ is written ‘Oun Ali-e ketab hæsse’ in English context ‘That Ali-REZ book is’. REZ here as determiner or possessive (‘s). This structure mostly dominant 80% is same, except (to be) is dissimilar. In English language the main verb appears after the subject, nevertheless in Mazandarani language appears in object direct. This context causes L2 being the main factor of source of CLI (Cross Language Influence).

The advantages from this journal are the calculation of data in this journal is explained clearly and in detail, such as characteristic data from various samples or subjects through purpose sampling, so that it can be easily understood by the readers. Moreover, from the selected sources 36 sources were referenced which made this journal as a complex journal. And also from several tests are tested on selected subjects, providing a comprehensive evaluation standard for the procuration of data provided.

The disadvantages from this journal is researchers still consider that the research conducted is still in the form of a hypothesis, so that the results of the existing data are still ambiguous whether the main factors of the dominant influence of culture are given of the L1 or L2 factors.

In conclusion, empirically it is proven that L2 is the main factor as a source of CLI. L2 is not sole cause of the main factor, L1 is also a factor of similarity to the structure of English, even though it is not as dominant as L2. From this research it is also proven that the role of communication language greatly influences L3. It seems that in the initial stages of L3 acquisition, CLI originates from the dominant language of communication, irrespective of whether it is the L1 or L2.

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