Situated at the crossroads of second language acquisition research and the study of cross-linguistic influences, this project investigates the effect of frequent mother tongue (L1) constructions on the choice of parallel constructions in Italian as third language (L3) in Cameroon.
French speaking Cameroonians are mostly growing up bilingually acquiring both French and a national Cameroonian language from early childhood on. Italian is learned in addition to other foreign languages at school/university level and is thus acquired as L3.
I thus hypothesize that francophone learners of Italian replace in Italian commonly used constructions with parallel high frequency constructions from French.
Thus, I will show that the usage frequency of grammatical constructions is reflected in the speakers? mental representation of grammar and influences their choice of parallel constructions in their L3 acquisition.
Moreover, I will establish how high frequency structures in L1 impact on the frequency of different structures in L3.
Methodologically, this study will be based on the quantitative and qualitative analysis of the above introduced structures in a spoken corpus of francophone Cameroonian learner Italian. To this end, I will record the production of Cameroonian students of all levels of proficiency (beginner, intermediate and advanced). The recordings will be used to compile a corpus of Italian as L3.