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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Backward transfer: The influence of English as a second language on syntactic and semantic aspects of Arabic as a first language
by Alfaifi, Essa, M.A., California State University, Long Beach, 2015, 112; 1571849
Abstract (Summary)

This study questions whether people develop different knowledge of their native language when they begin learning a second language. Under the framework of multi-competence, the study examines the backward influence of English L2 on Arabic L1 with respect to three linguistic areas: null-subject, tense-aspect priority, and preposition selection.

Two groups of monolinguals and bilinguals that included 67 participants were recruited in this study. The perception was assessed through an acceptability judgment task and a preference judgment task. The production was also assessed using retelling written descriptions of a silent film. The results did not show significant differences between monolinguals and bilinguals with respect to the perception. However, a slight, but visible, influence appeared on the bilinguals' written production. Grammatical restructuring was associated with their use of tense-aspect and null-subject rules but not with the use of prepositions. The research indicated that language production is sensitive to backward influence more and earlier than perception. The research also indicates that the backward influence seems limited with less developed L2 (2–5 years of acquisition), and it only takes place when L2 learners deal with structure complexity in the written production.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Abbuhl, Rebekha
Commitee: Finney, Malcolm, Hall, Nancy
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Linguistics
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 54/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Bilingual education, Linguistics, English as a Second Language
Keywords: Backward influence, Cross-linguistic influence, Second language acquisition
Publication Number: 1571849
ISBN: 978-1-321-44873-3
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