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L1–L2 convergence in clausal packaging in Japanese and English*



This study investigates L1–L2 convergence among bilinguals at an intermediate (CEFR-B2) level of L2 proficiency, focusing on the clausal packaging of Manner and Path of motion. Previous research has shown cross-linguistic differences between English and Japanese in this domain (Allen et al., 2003; Kita & Özyürek, 2003, though note Brown & Gullberg, 2012). We compared descriptions of motion from monolingual English and Japanese speakers to L1 and L2 descriptions from Japanese users of English as a second (ESL) and foreign (EFL) language. Results showed no significant difference between the monolinguals, who predominately used single-clause constructions packaging Manner and Path. However, bilinguals, both ESL and EFL speakers, used significantly more multi-clause constructions in both their L1 and L2. Following Pavlenko (2011a), findings are interpreted as evidence for L1–L2 convergence. We discuss potential bi-directional cross-linguistic influences underpinning the L1–L2 convergence and implications for the restructuring of bilingual systems.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Amanda Brown, Department of Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 13244,


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This research received technical and financial support from Syracuse University, the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, and the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO; MPI 56-384, The Dynamics of Multilingual Processing, awarded to Marianne Gullberg and Peter Indefrey). Riko Yasunaga, Eriko Higashida, and Hiromichi Ito provided assistance with transcriptions and coding. Two 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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