Single exponent in l1 multiple exponents in l2: consequences for l2

Thesis Type: Postgraduate

Institution Of The Thesis: Middle East Technical University, Turkey

Approval Date: 2013

Thesis Language: English

Student: Zehra Kurumlu



The thesis hypothesized that when an exponent of a linguistic concept in the native language maps onto several different exponents in the target language, learners have difficulty when acquiring those structures in the target language. By contrast, when an exponent of a linguistic concept in the native language and its counterpart in the target language stand in a one-to-one correspondence, the possibility of making errors decreases to a considerable extent. In order to test this hypothesis, I examined three different phenomena which allow both the usage of one-to-one and many-to-one structures: prepositions on, at, in; the usage of Present and Past Simple tense in embedded clauses; and the usage of Present Perfect and Past Simple in matrix clauses. Turkish learners of English were administered several data collection tools: translation task, fill-in-the-blanks-tasks and think aloud protocols to determine if their errors might be caused by the interference of Turkish on acquisition of English as a second language. The hypothesis was confirmed for the two phenomena examined and the results of the three phenomena provide a lot of evidence that is consistent with L1 interference. However, the erroneous usage of tense in matrix clauses seems to have independent sources. It was also observed that the structures are not problematic per se; that is, they become problematic when they are required in a context where more than one L2 possibility exists for a single structure the effect L1 and interference can be decreased to some extent through the usage of various linguistic clues.