Essay Example on The linguistic phenomenon the L2 and the issue

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1 1 The linguistic phenomenon the L2 and the issue In this report I am going to explore a learner's development over fifteen years by observing and analysing the acquisition of English articles in the second language learning of a native Italian speaker 1 2 The learner and the L1 This report will focus on Monica Bellucci an Italian actress and fashion model She has lived in Italy her whole life but has travelled to many different countries including England to appear in films including Spectre in the James Bond film series Bellucci s initial exposure to English was from the age of five learning English in primary school Aged sixteen she was exposed to the target language more frequently in England receiving active input from the community 1 3 The research question I am going to investigate Bellucci s acquisition of the English article system and the difficulties she faces This longitudinal development study will allow me to observe if Bellucci s proficiency of the English article system improves over time 2 Background 2 1 The linguistic phenomenon in the L1 and the L2 Both the English and Italian article systems have the definite and indefinite articles however they are used differently Leech and Svartvik 1994 claim that English has the definite article the the indefinite articles an and a and the zero article when a noun does not requires an article Dissimilarly the Italian article system consists of ten articles which indicate gender and number 2 2 Finding from key publications on the issue Lado 1957 claims that second language learners transfer parts of their native language to the L2 suggesting a native Italian learner of English would transfer their linguistic knowledge of Italian articles to their English grammar Moreover a range of L2 studies show L2 development is linked to the amount of exposure to utterances in the target language Myles 2005

This indicates that over time the more utterances of the L2 heard the linguistic proficiency of an individual would improve 2 3 Findings from key publications on your phenomenon The acquisition of English articles has been studied vigorously in the past however the difficulties of acquiring them continue to be explored Shoebottom 2017 claims that Italian learners frequently have problems with the correct use of articles in English due to both languages having different article systems However a study conducted by Ekiert 2004 showed that the acquisition of articles follows the L1 natural order zero article indefinite articles and finally the definite article 2 4 Research question and hypothesis From the literature one would assume that a native Italian learner of English would transfer their linguistic knowledge of Italian articles when acquiring English articles Focusing specifically on the definite and indefinite articles the hypothesis for this study is based on Eckiert s 2004 findings and predicts that Bellucci will make more speaker errors with the English definite article when compared to errors made with indefinite articles due to the order of acquisition Bellucci has learnt English from the age of five and I predict she will continue to make learner errors though perhaps not as many if interviewed as a child A second hypothesis will be that the learner will improve their knowledge of the English grammar system over time as she receives more exposure to the target language 3 The Data 3 1 Methodology 



To test the hypotheses longitudinal data was collected from interviews posted to YouTube over a fifteen year span One to three minute clips from the years 2000 2005 2010 and 2015 were transcribed where the speaker elicits spontaneous oral narrow production The speaker is asked questions about her occupation and to re tell stories The descriptive and qualitative comments Bellucci makes allowed me to analyse all occurrences of articles To control the variables and insure reliability of the data I choose interviews recorded to appear on TV All the clips were recorded after Bellucci s school life where she was receiving naturalistic exposure to the target language Each clip has six to nine relevant utterances and ten to twenty tokens Methodological problems included the actual speech samples being time consuming to transcribe however they were valuable when observing developmental trends over time 



Moreover due to the speaker being recorded for television her actual knowledge of English grammar could have be masked by overly careful speech 3 2 Data analysis Data analysis consisted of analysing each transcript separately highlighting obligatory contexts for all articles This enabled the testing of the hypotheses that Bellucci would make more speaker errors with definite articles than indefinite articles and would show if she made progress over time 4 Results Figure 1 shows that in the interviews recorded in 2000 and 2005 Bellucci made the most speaker errors in comparison with recent interviews In 2000 three speaker errors 30 were made and seven correct suppliances in obligatory contexts In the 2005 interview Bellucci made four errors 21 and fifteen correct suppliances in obligatory contexts Interestingly in both the 2010 and 2015 interviews Bellucci supplied 100 in obligatory contexts


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