A longitudinal study in the L2 acquisition of the french TAM system

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Empirical studies investigating the second language (L2) acquisition of tense, aspect, mood/modality (TAM) systems offer an enlightening window into L2 learners’ linguistic competence because they involve all areas of a language, making them ideal testing grounds for the Interface hypothesis and ultimately whether adult learners may achieve a native-like TAM system. This longitudinal study used a pre-test, repeated exposure, delayed post-test design guided by a main research question-does the L2 learners’ interlanguage display contrasts and systematicity? Sixteen L2 French learners-L1 English (n = 9), HL French (n = 4), and HL Spanish (n = 3) speakers enrolled in a fourth-year college Film and Fiction class read five novels that were extensively discussed in class and used as essay topics, thus providing controlled, repeated exposure to oral and written input over a semester. Qualitative and quantitative findings reveal a highly accurate production of several forms, but with an over-reliance on the indicative present. The learners’ TAM system appears to be contrasted and varied, but unbalanced. Findings regarding the Interface hypothesis are mixed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number42
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Aspect
  • Interface hypothesis
  • L2 french
  • Longitudinal study
  • Modality
  • Mood
  • Tense

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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