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Volume 16 Number 4, Winter 2019, Pages 1069-1460 PDF Download

Reverse transfer of L3 on the Interpretation of L2 Reflexives

    Hee-Don Ahn & Cui Mao

English reflexives allow only for short-distance binding except for exempt anaphors, while Chinese and Korean reflexives can be both short- and long-distance bound. This study examines the cross-linguistic influence of L3 Korean on L2 English in the interpretation of reflexive bindings with Chinese and Korean participants. 30 Chinese-English (CE), 20 Korean-English (KE), and 23 Chinese-English-Korean (CEK) participants completed an English proficiency test and a Truth Value Judgment Task (TVJT). The results of proficiency test showed KE scored significantly higher than CE and CEK, while the latter two were comparable. Nevertheless, although the mean scores of TVJT revealed marginally significant variance, Post-hoc comparisons showed KE scored significantly higher than CE, but not than CEK. CEK displayed numerically higher score than CE, though not significantly. The findings mirrored the pattern in Ahn & Jang (2019) in that L3 seemed to play a more robust role in L2 acquisition. The variation in TVJT between CE and CEK was unlikely to be introduced by either L1or L2 proficiency. Aligning with the Foreign Language Effect Model, L2 may be changed to reflect patterns in L3 when a specific feature was not common for both languages.

Keywords: L3 Acquisition, reverse transfer, reflexive binding