This study examines whether the dramatic decline in exposure to L2 input experienced by children who have returned from an extended period living abroad induces attrition in their processing of L2 phonological contrast. Eight Japanese children performed a set of phonological discrimination tasks at six month intervals over a span of two years following their return to Japan from an English-speaking country. Results reveal changes in perceptual sensitivity to non-native contrasts at the level of speech processing but not in terms of discrimination accuracy. These findings are taken to indicate that loss of sustained exposure to L2 input does not cause loss of L2 phonological categories but rather leads to a normal rise in thresholds of activation associated with disuse.
Online and offline judgments of articles in L2 English by Japanese adult L2 learners and child returnees
In this symposium I will discuss an area of grammar that continues to be problematic for second language (L2) learners of English, articles and bare plurals. The interpretation of definiteness and genericity by Japanese adult L2 learners and child returnees was examined by means of a self-paced reading task and an acceptability judgment task in a cross-sectional study: Four child returnees took part in a 30 month longitudinal study. The findings reveal that adult learners and child returnees alike have difficulties with NPs which are kind denoting (e.g., the dinosaur is extinct). I explore the possible reasons for the results.
We will examine interpretations of tense and aspect in L2 Japanese by Chinese and Filipino children. The children arrived in Japan at the age of 10~12 years and were studying at local junior high schools at the time of testing. They were each asked to complete an Acceptability Judgment Task where test sentences involving the –teiru and non-past (-ru) verb forms were given in contexts. Results show that the children generally obtained ongoing and resultant state readings for the –teiru forms while showing difficulty understanding non-past readings for the –ru forms. We will discuss the variability observed in development in the L2 aspectual domain.