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Conference papers

Interrelationships between Time and Space in English and French discourse: implications for second language acquisition

Abstract : Many studies have shown that discourse determiners affect the distribution of information in narration, thus playing a role in the coherence and cohesion of discourse. Many studies in SLA have pointed out the difficulties faced by L2 learners in determining the way information is distributed on the sentence and discourse levels in the target language. We hypothesise that the way speakers express bounded and unbounded events in narration depends on the framing type of their language (Talmy 2000); we therefore assigned a task in which participants had to describe caused and voluntary motion. All participants were adults, speakers of L1 French, L1 English and L2 French at three levels of proficiency. This paper aims to 1) show how English and French native speakers distribute temporal and spatial information, 2) demonstrate the relations between the expression of Time and Space in both languages in the different parts of a narrative, and 3) show the development of various modes of expressing Time and Space in the acquisition of L2 French by adult English speakers. The findings show that each group has its own typical modes of expressing Time and Space in the different parts of the discourse. In L1 English, bounded events depend less on the type of path than on the section of the narrative. In contrast, the variability in L1 French depends on the type of Path. English learners of L2 French pattern like L1 English speakers in the beginning of narratives, but differ when narrating the core sections, where structures depend on the Path and on the level of proficiency. Finally, L1 English speakers show less variability in different parts of the narrative, compared to L1 French speakers. This difference has an impact on learner proficiency and its development.
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Contributor : Annie-Claude Demagny <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, May 2, 2018 - 11:17:06 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, December 8, 2020 - 9:42:11 AM


  • HAL Id : halshs-01782951, version 1


Annie-Claude Demagny. Interrelationships between Time and Space in English and French discourse: implications for second language acquisition. Workshop on ‘Temporality: Cross-linguistic Influences and implications for SLA’, University of York, Centre for Language Learning Research Department of Education Nov 2014, York, United Kingdom. ⟨halshs-01782951⟩



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