The Syntax of Determination in a Corpus of Oral Productions of Jamaican Learners of French: Word Order and Agreement Patterns in Nominal Phrases

By Hugues Peters and Michele Stewart.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

The study of second language learners interlanguage is a fascinating topic of enquiry in its own right, as it combines inter and intra-individual variation with a definite structural systematicity, not completely reducible to the native language (L1), nor to the target language (L2). This study follows the development of the syntax of the Determiner Phrase (Abney 1987) in a longitudinal oral corpus of Jamaican adult learners of French within a classroom instructed environment, from the intermediate to the advanced level of proficiency (Peters 2005). In this paper, a comparison is presented of the main features of the syntax of the determiner phrase in French (Laenzlinger 2005), where extensive DP-internal movement occurs because of strong functional categories, and the main features of Jamaican Creole (Stewart 2006, Durleman-Tame 2008), where only limited movement takes place (as in possibly the post-nominal marker “dem”). It is followed by the analysis of the main characteristics of the DP in the interlanguage of individual learners (choice of determiner, gender and number agreement, structural complexity of the DP, and position of adjective phrases) in order to document the possible influence of two distinct native grammatical systems, (Jamaican Creole and English continuum), on the acquisition of a foreign language.

Keywords: Jamaican Creole, French, Linguistics, Syntax of Determination, Second Language Acquisition

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 7, Issue 9, pp.51-62. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.190MB).

Dr. Hugues Peters

University Lecturer, School of Languages and Linguistics, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Dr. Peters is Lecturer in French and French Program Convenor within the School of Languages and Linguistics at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. He received his Master in Romance Philology from the Université Libre de Bruxelles and his PhD in French from the Pennsylvania State University. He taught at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica, and held a research position at the University of Geneva. His research interests include the syntax of French, especially the syntax of negation, the acquisition of French as a second language, and linguistic approaches to French poetry. He is currently working on a pedagogical grammar of French for native speakers in collaboration with the University of Geneva.

Dr. Michele Stewart

University Lecturer, Department of Language, Linguistics and Philosophy, The University of the West Indies, Kingston, Mona, Jamaica

Michele Stewart lectures in Linguistics at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona. Dr Stewart has a background in Education and Management, and received her (post graduate) Diploma in Education, Executive Masters in Business Administration and PhD Linguistics from UWI. Her research interests are Syntax, Semantics, Language Acquisition and the application of theory to language education in a creole context.

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