Grammatical gender acquisition in sequential trilinguals: Influence of a gendered L1 vs. L2

Megan M. Brown


In an investigation of the acquisition of grammatical gender at the initial stage of L3 acquisition, beginner L3 German learners with L1 English/L2 Spanish or L1 Spanish/L2 English were compared in their ability to identify gender errors in a German grammaticality judgement task. L2 Spanish learners significantly outperformed L1 Spanish learners. Potential explanations for group differences include (1) exclusive transfer of L2 grammatical knowledge at the initial stages of L3, as predicted by the L2 Status Factor Model (Bardel & Falk 2007), as well as (2) increased metalinguistic knowledge of gender as a result of instruction in the L2.


Third Language Acquisition; L3; Grammatical Gender; German; Spanish; English

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