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«DOI: 10.1177/0267658312455822 Published: 01/01/2012 Link to publication Citation for published version (APA): Brown, A., & Gullberg, M. (2012). ...»

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Multicompetence and native speaker variation in clausal packaging in Japanese

Brown, Amanda; Gullberg, Marianne

Published in:

Second Language Research



Published: 01/01/2012

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Citation for published version (APA):

Brown, A., & Gullberg, M. (2012). Multicompetence and native speaker variation in clausal packaging in

Japanese. Second Language Research, 28(4), 415-442. DOI: 10.1177/0267658312455822 General rights Copyright and moral rights for the publications made accessible in the public portal are retained by the authors and/or other copyright owners and it is a condition of accessing publications that users recognise and abide by the legal requirements associated with these rights.

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Multicompetence and native speaker variation in clausal packaging in Japanese Amanda Brown Syracuse University, USA Marianne Gullberg Lund University, Sweden Abstract Native speakers show systematic variation in a range of linguistic domains as a function of a variety of sociolinguistic variables. This paper addresses native language variation in the context of multicompetence, i.e. knowledge of two languages in one mind (Cook, 1991). Descriptions of motion were elicited from functionally monolingual and non- monolingual speakers of Japanese, with analyses focusing on clausal packaging of Manner and Path. Results revealed that (1) acquisition of a second language (L2) appears to affect how speakers distribute information about motion in and across clauses in their first language (L1); (2) these effects can be seen with rather less knowledge of a second language than the advanced bilingual proficiency level typically studied; and (3) there appears to be little effect of L2 immersion in this domain since Japanese users of English as a second language (ESL) did not differ from Japanese users of English as a foreign   1   language (EFL). We discuss the findings with respect to characterizations of emerging multicompetent grammars, and to implications for the construct of ‘the native speaker’, for language pedagogy and language assessment.

Keywords: multicompetence, native language variation, Japanese, ESL, EFL, motion events, Manner, Path Corresponding author: Amanda Brown, Dept. of Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 13244, USA, Email: Abrown08@syr.edu Acknowledgements Portions of this paper were presented and received feedback from audiences at the 2009 Second Language Research Forum at Michigan State University and the 2010 British Association for Applied Linguistics at the University of Aberdeen. Riko Yasunaga and Eriko Higashida provided assistance with transcriptions and coding. Three anonymous reviewers offered helpful comments and suggestions on a previous version of this article.

All of these contributions are acknowledged with grateful thanks.


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Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO; MPI 56-384, The Dynamics of Multilingual Processing, awarded to M. Gullberg and P. Indefrey).

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I Introduction Native speakers have been observed to exhibit systematic variation in a range of linguistic domains as a function of a variety of sociolinguistic variables such as region (e.g. Labov et al., 2006), socio-economic status (e.g. Labov, 1966; Pakulak and Neville, 2010), ethnicity (e.g. Rickford, 1895), gender (e.g. Eckert, 1989), style and identity (e.g.

Eckert, 2000) (for an overview, see Chambers et al., 2004). Recently, language variation in native speaker production has also been documented as a result of ‘multicompetence’ (Cook, 1991), that is, an individual’s knowledge of more than one language, as in the case of bilingualism or second language acquisition. Such research has shown that knowledge of a second language (L2) can affect performance in a first language (L1) in at least some linguistic domains (see papers in Cook, 2003, and e.g. Brown and Gullberg, 2010; Chen, 2006; Su, 2010). Although the number of studies in this area has recently increased, we are still far from complete characterizations of native speaker variation due to the presence of second language knowledge. There is much to resolve regarding the extent of the variation, its time course, and the specific linguistic domains involved, all of which have implications for the construct of ‘the native speaker’ (e.g. Davies, 2003) and for language pedagogy and assessment.

This paper addresses native language variation in the context of multicompetence.

Descriptions of motion from functionally monolingual and non-monolingual speakers of

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information to the domains examined in previous research and ask whether acquisition of an L2 affects how speakers distribute information about motion in and across clauses in their L1. We address how much knowledge of a second language is necessary before changes in L1 performance can be seen by examining multicompetent individuals with rather less knowledge of an L2 than the advanced bilingual proficiency level typically studied. We also address different contexts of multicompetence by first assessing differences between Japanese users of English as a second language (ESL) in an immersion context versus Japanese users of English as a foreign language (EFL) in a non-immersion context.

II Background 1 Multicompetence ‘Multicompetence’ was originally proposed and defined by Cook (1991) as ‘the compound state of a mind with two grammars’ (Cook, 1991:112) and provided a term for ‘a complex mental state including the L1 and L2 interlanguage, but excluding the L2 (native speaker)’ (Cook, 2007a:17). Use of the word ‘grammar’ in this early definition was adjusted due to its narrow association with syntax, and multicompetence is typically defined now as ‘knowledge of two languages in one mind’ (Cook, 2007a:17). In line with Grosjean (1989), Cook (1992) argued that a multicompetent language user was not the equivalent of two monolingual language users, but a unique individual with a unique

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systems within an individual mind does not necessarily represent a ‘final steady state of knowledge’ (581). Thus, multicompetence refers to the multiple language competencies in dynamic interaction exhibited by multilinguals, which differ from the single competencies exhibited by monolinguals.

Criticism of the construct of multicompetence has revolved partly around the implication that variation is not an inherent part of all language systems, just multilingual ones (Alptekin, 2010), specifically against the assumptions that monolingual systems represent ‘final steady states of knowledge’ and are qualitatively less dynamic than multilingual systems (Hall et al., 2006). Cook (2007b) later acknowledged that ‘SLA research and language teaching have paid little attention to native speaker variation whether within or across individuals’ (206) and ‘the classic triad of L1, L2, and interlanguage ignored the variation within the constructs of L1 and L2.’ (209). Perhaps because multicompetence has been applied to a broad range of areas, e.g. dynamic systems, multilingualism, lingua francas, heritage languages, and cross-linguistic influence, more recent iterations of the framework have recognized that ‘language is rarely if ever still’, that ‘final’ or ‘steady’ states of knowledge refer to a ‘relative’ rather than ‘frozen’ stasis (207), and that ‘[m]ulticompetence is a continually changing relationship between two or more language systems that are themselves constantly changing’ (209). Although this definition satisfies prior criticisms, it does raise important questions about the outer parameters and developmental trajectories of multicompetence,

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of any second language knowledge, exists in today’s multilingual and multicultural world, at what point languages users transition from mono- to multicompetence, and whether a transition from multi- to monocompetence is possible, for instance in the context of either L1 or L2 language loss.

Regardless of the complexity of the definition, support for a notion of multicompetence has been offered. In his early work, Cook (1992) illustrated the qualitative distinction between multilingual and monolingual systems by showing differences between the groups in L1 knowledge, L2 knowledge, metalinguistic awareness, and cognitive processes, and reviewed research suggesting the possibility of integrated versus separated L1 and L2 systems. In later work (Cook, 2007a), he focused on ‘reverse transfer’, or effects of the L2 on the L1, which is of most relevance to the current paper.

2 Multicompetence and Variation in Native Language Production The field of bilingualism has long acknowledged the distinctiveness of multicompetent systems. Indeed, the bi-directionality of interactions between the languages of a bilingual speaker, or ‘those instances of deviation from the norms of either language which occur in the speech of bilinguals as a result of their familiarity with more than one language’ (Weinreich, 1953:1), is well attested. The phenomenon of codeswitching is perhaps one of the most visible manifestations of online interaction

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discussions of constraints on codeswitching). Outside of codeswitching, however, unique and often convergent patterns in bilingual production have been found in domains such as the lexicon, e.g. naming patterns (Ameel et al., 2005; Ameel et al., 2009), the production of deverbal compounds (Nicoladis, 2003), and semantic categorization (Gathercole and Moawad, 2010); the sound system, e.g. vowel production (Bullock and Gerfen, 2004), voice onset time (Kehoe et al., 2004; Zampini and Green, 2001), and intonation (Colantoni and Gurlekian, 2004); and syntax and syntax-related interfaces, e.g. verb placement (Döpke, 1998), adjective-noun order (Nicoladis, 2003), tense and aspect (Sanchez, 2004), and argument omission (Montrul, 2004; Müller, 2007; Müller and Hulk, 2001; Serratrice et al., 2004; Toribio, 2004; Yip and Matthews, 2000).

Until very recently, the field of SLA had largely ignored the L1 side of multicompetence, holding a rather biased view of the relationship between the L1 and L2.

This is illustrated by the enormous number of studies on ‘cross-linguistic influence’, focusing on influences from a learner’s L1, which yield both facilitative and inhibitory effects in the L2 (see overviews in Cenoz et al., 2001; DeAngelis, 2007; Gass and Selinker, 1992; Jarvis and Pavlenko, 2008; Kellerman and Sharwood Smith, 1986; Odlin, 1989; 2008; Ringbom, 2007). However, the concept of ‘cross-linguistic influence’, originally defined as ‘the interplay between earlier and later acquired languages’ (Kellerman and Sharwood Smith, 1986:1), included the possibility of a bi-directional relationship between the L1 and L2. In line with the multicompetence framework (Cook,

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variation in SLA, specifically differences between monolingual and non-monolingual L1 production traceable to features of the L2.

To date, research has found influences of the L2 on the L1 in a number of domains, e.g. lexical borrowing, semantic extension and narrowing (Pavlenko, 2003), collocations (Laufer, 2003), lexicalization patterns (Brown and Gullberg, 2010), voice onset time (Flege, 1987), intonation (Mennen, 2004), tense and aspect (Pavlenko, 2003), subcategorization frames (Jarvis, 2003), voice (Balcom, 2003), syntactic processing, (Su, 2001; Cook et al., 2003), requesting, (Cenoz, 2003; Su, 2010), back channeling (Heinz, 2003), reading (Yelland, 1993), writing (Kecskes and Papp, 2000; Chen, 2006), word recognition (Cunningham and Graham, 2000), co-speech gesture frequency (Pika et al., 2006), co-speech gesture viewpoint (Brown, 2008), information distribution across the modalities of speech and gesture (Brown and Gullberg, 2008), and non-linguistic categorization of number (Athanasopoulos, 2006), color (Athanasopoulos et al., 2004), and shape (Cook et al., 2006).

In the majority of studies that have found native speaker variation and argued that it is a result of knowledge of a second language, the multicompetent populations investigated were advanced bilinguals, i.e. those with very high proficiency in the second language. Such effects are perhaps less surprising given the evidence of bi-directional, cross-linguistic influences in the bilingualism literature. We have a much weaker

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changes in native speaker production, and the evidence we do have appears inconclusive.

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