Edited by Pascale Leclercq and Martin Howard
[Language, Interaction and Acquisition 6:1] 2015
► pp. 74–106
In this study, we provide a comparison of adult and child L2 acquisition in relation to their use of the imparfait form in L2 French. Previous research on this form shows that it is an area of considerable difficulty, being lexically and functionally restricted in use even in advanced stages of acquisition. In the study presented here, we compare our child and adult learners in an immersion setting, where the adult learners were studying at a French university, while the children were attending a French immersion school. Their use of the imparfait is explored through a longitudinal lens, where we look in particular at its use to mark different aspectual values, as well as its lexical use with different verbs. The findings indicate that, while both groups benefit from the immersion context, the children’s development seems to be more rapid and more stable: once they start using the imparfait productively, they use it for a greater range of its aspectual values and in a more autonomous way than the adults. The results are discussed with regard to age of onset and the development of L1 and L2 discourse capacities.
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