French as a third language in Norway: The influence of the prior languages in the acquisition of word order


  • Kjersti Faldet Listhaug
  • Guro Busterud
  • Anne Dahl



The present study investigated the acquisition of verb movement in L3 French by L1 speakers of Norwegian with English as their L2. To investigate the impact of previously learned languages in L3 acquisition, we looked at two sentence types with lexical verbs where Norwegian, English, and French differ in systematic ways: a) non-subject initial declarative main clauses and b) subject-initial declarative main clauses with a short sentence-medial adverbial. Students completed acceptability judgment tasks in both the L2 and the L3. Results did not indicate a privileged status for either language as a source of transfer. Rather, there were indications that both prior languages may influence L3 French. We argue that the partially overlapping surface word order with French in each prior language may cause non-target transfer into the L3. Furthermore, higher L2 proficiency was associated with less evidence of L2 transfer in the L3.



2021-06-29 — Updated on 2021-06-29