Anteprima della tesi di Silvia Pareti

How the Learning of a Second Language Affects the First Language of an Individual: The Italian of Monolingual and Multilingual Speakers

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Anteprima della tesi: How the Learning of a Second Language Affects the First Language of an Individual: The Italian of Monolingual and Multilingual Speakers, Pagina 3

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32. HISTORICAL OVERVIEW
The history of research on the influence of the L2 on the L1 has still to
be written. As studies only very recently have started to consider this
phenomenon, this chapter will be limited to previous approaches to first and
second language reciprocal relation, and their considerations on the nature of the
influence they have on each other.
Starting from transfer studies and Contrastive Analysis (Weinreich,
1953), until the more recent works on interlanguage (Kellerman, 1986), the
effects that the learners’ first languages have on the languages they acquire have
been the focus of most of the works on cross-linguistics influence. Contrastive
Analysis considered this interference from the L1 as an obstacle to successful
mastery of the L2, as the major cause of errors (Balcom in Cook, 2003:168-192).
However, interference is a bidirectional phenomenon. According to
Weinreich’s definition (1953:1), interference is as a deviation from either
language the bilingual speaker possesses. The influence of the L2 on the L1 did
not attract the interest of researchers for long and two possible reasons for
neglecting this phenomenon are presented by Laufer (in Cook, 2003:19-31).
Firstly, research on second language acquisition was focusing more on the initial
stages of the process of acquisition thus dealing with non-advanced subjects. The
L2 these studies were considering was hence not developed enough for the
transfer to be detected as bidirectional.
The second possible reason was connected to the predominance of
English language in SLA research. The studies of advanced learners of English
had hence immigrants to English-speaking countries as their subjects. Their
attention was consequently focused on the development of their English as this
was of crucial importance for their integration into the new society.
Only in the framework of first language attrition was the possibility of a
bidirectional influence taken onto consideration. Investigating the gradual loss of
the L1, linguists
3
identified the increasing dominance of the L2 as one of the
3
See LAUFER, B. (in Cook, 2003:20) for an overview on the first studies on attrition that
presented the L2 as one of the co-factors responsible for L1 attrition (BERMAN, R.A. &
OLSHTAIN, E. Features on First Language Transfer in Second Language Attrition. Applied
Linguistics 4, 222-234, 1983; KAUFMAN, D. & ARONOF, M. Morphological Interaction