Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation
Conference papers

The expression of Caused motion in French by English Learners

Abstract : The expression of Caused motion in French by English Learners Henriëtte Hendriks1, Annie-Claude Demagny 2 & Maya Hickmann2 1 University of Cambridge, 2 CNRS & Université Paris 8 Research on linguistic diversity has recently revived debates concerning universal and language-specific determinants in language acquisition (Hickmann, 2006; Slobin, 1996). This paper addresses some diversity issues in relation to the expression of caused motion in the acquisition of French as a second language. The expression of caused motion differs in English and French. English, a satellite-framed language, ncodes Manner and Cause in verbal roots and Path in satellites (example 1). French, a verb-framed language, expresses Path in main verbs and Manner and Cause in other devices (2) (cf. Talmy 1983, 1985, 2000). These typological contrasts have possible implications for second lan guage acquisition. (1) He pushes the ball across the street. (2) Il traverse la rue en poussant le ballon. To measure these, we analyse the expression of caused motion by English adults learning French as a second language. Cartoons in w hich an agent acts upon an object in a certain Manner causing its displacement according to a certain Manner and Path were presented to several groups of adult speakers (English and French native speakers; English learners of French (three proficiency levels)). Results show that adult L2 learners initially organize information according to their source language. Thus, at lower proficiency levels, they express Manner and Cause in the verb, and Path in the satellite, an impossible solution in French, as shown in (3). (3)?Il a tiré le caddie à la garage. With increasing proficiency, speakers express Manner and Cause in main verbs, and Path in a gerundive-like construction. Although gra mmatical, this organization is not target-like: (4)Pousser en montant. In sum, at higher levels of proficiency influences of both source and target language are present in the interlanguage. The discussion of the paper will highlight the implications of typological constraints for models of second language acquisition. References Hickmann, M. (2006) The relativity of motion in first language acquisition. In: Hickmann, M. and S. Robert (Eds.): Space across languages:Linguistic systems and cognitive categories. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, pp. 281-308. Slobin, D. (1996) From “thought and language” to “thinking for speaking.” In: Gumperz, J.J. and S.C. Levinson (Eds.): Rethinking linguistic relativity . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 70-96. Talmy, L.(1983). How language structures space. In: Pick, H. and L. Acredolo (Eds.): Spatial Orientation. New York: Plenum, pp. 225-282. Talmy, L. (1985). Lexicalization patterns: Semantic structure in lexical forms. In: Shopen, T. (Hg.): Language Typology and Syntactic Description. Vol. 3: Grammatical Categories and the Lexicon, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 57 -149. Talmy, L. (2000). Towards a Cognitive Semantics. Volume I: Concept Structuring Systems. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
Document type :
Conference papers
Complete list of metadata
Contributor : Annie-Claude Demagny <>
Submitted on : Saturday, November 19, 2016 - 4:47:00 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, December 8, 2020 - 9:52:22 AM


  • HAL Id : halshs-01399586, version 1


Henriëtte Hendriks, Annie-Claude Demagny, Maya Hickmann. The expression of Caused motion in French by English Learners. The Nature and Development of L2 French, French Learner Language Oral Corpora, Jul 2008, Southampton, United Kingdom. ⟨halshs-01399586⟩



Record views