VERBS OF MOTION AND SENTENCE PRODUCTION IN SECOND LANGUAGE

  • Stanislava Antonijević
  • Sarah Berthaud

Abstract

The current study examines production of sentences in which verbs of motion were used.Participants that were either French or English native speakers produced sentences in theirsecond language (L2). Importantly, English is said to be dominantly manner framed whileFrench is dominantly path framed language. This means that in English verbs of motionmainly carry information about manner in which action is performed while path is describedby the syntactic frame (e.g. John walked up the hill). In French verbs of motion describe thepath of motion while the manner can be added by a prepositional phrase (e.g. John ascendsthe hill by walking). Sentence production was elicited using custom made pictures thatshowed the action and all arguments of the verb. The results indicated that speakers of eitherlanguage use the structures of their first language to produce sentences in the secondlanguage. Because manner framed verbs are much more flexible in the type of syntactic framethey permit native English speakers were more successful in applying this strategy to Frenchverbs. As path framed verbs are not as flexible French speakers made many errors trying touse English verbs as if they were path framed. In addition to the type of language anotherimportant characteristic for sentence production was animacy of the sentence subject.
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