Referent introduction and maintenance - two aspects of information

Referent introduction and maintenance - two aspects of information

Uppsala Universitet

Institutionen för Lingvistik & Filologi

C-uppsats/ Bachelor’s Thesis

VT 2009

Referent introduction and maintenance - two aspects of information structure: A study of a Dutch L1 learner of Swedish

Josefin Lindgren

Handledare/Supervisor: Ute Bohnacker

Abstract

This paper presents an explorative ‘pilot’ study made of oral picture descriptions in the native tongue as well as in the target language of an intermediate Dutch L1 learner of Swedish (L2).

Three Swedish L1 native controls were also recorded describing the same pictures. The recordings were transcribed, coded and quantitatively analysed for the following aspects of information structure: 1) referent introduction and 2) referent maintenance per type, 3)

constituents in the prefield (i.e. clause-initial position) and 4) occurrences of

spatial/existential constructions of referent introduction. The research questions were: Do

Dutch L1 and Swedish L1 differ in their patterns of information structure in the area of referent introduction and maintenance, concerning prefield constituents in picture descriptions? Does the L2 learner adhere to the target language (Swedish) patterns, the patterns of his mother tongue (Dutch) or does the interlanguage exhibit different patterns?

Differences in frequency emerged, where the Dutch L1 data had substantially higher rates of subjects in the prefield than Swedish L1 and where the perspective taken for referent introduction was largely existential. On the other hand, Swedish L1 showed a greater variation in the prefield and a pattern of referent introduction that was both spatial and existential. The learner followed the patterns of his native tongue, in his L2 Swedish, where the patterns differed from those of Swedish L1. Transfer was found to be a likely cause of this, even though other explanations are not excluded by the results. The strict dichotomy of spatial/existential perspective of referent introduction proposed by e.g. Carroll et al. (2000) was found to exclude many cases of referent introduction. The main problem with the present study was the small quantity of data, as well as the lack of comparable studies; it is therefore recommended to repeat this study using a larger amount of data.

Keywords: L2 acquisition, Dutch, Swedish, information structure, referent introduction, referent maintenance, prefield constituents, Carroll & von Stutterheim, Bohnacker & Rosén.

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Table of contents

Abstract........................................................................................................................................ i

Table of contents.........................................................................................................................ii

1. Introduction.............................................................................................................................1

2. Theoretical background and earlier studies............................................................................ 4

2.1 The syntactic structure of Dutch and Swedish: a brief overview and comparison ........ 4

2.1.1 Verb Second and the “prefield”................................................................................. 5

2.1.2 Expletive constructions.............................................................................................. 7

2.2 Information Structure........................................................................................................8

2.2.1 Information Structure in Swedish: Earlier studies .................................................. 10

2.2.2 Information Structure in Dutch: Theories and earlier studies .................................11

2.3 Referent Introduction and Maintenance..........................................................................12

2.3.1 Spatial vs. Existential perspective of Referent Introduction and Maintenance....... 15

2.4 Studies of Dutch learners of Swedish............................................................................. 17

3. Problem definition and Aims................................................................................................ 18

4. Method & data collection......................................................................................................19

4.1 The learner...................................................................................................................... 19

4.2 Native controls................................................................................................................ 20

4.3 The stimuli: the two pictures ..........................................................................................20

4.4 Data collection & analysis.............................................................................................. 21

4.4 The method of analysis................................................................................................... 22

4.5 (Dis)advantages/limitations of the data ..........................................................................23

5. Results & Analysis................................................................................................................24

5.1 Swedish L1......................................................................................................................24

5.1.1 Referent Introduction............................................................................................... 25

5.1.2 Referent Maintenance ............................................................................................. 26

5.1.3 Syntactic Elements in the prefield........................................................................... 28

5.1.4 Existential / Spatial ways of Referent Introduction................................................. 30

5.2 Dutch L1......................................................................................................................... 33

5.2.1 Referent Introduction............................................................................................... 34

5.2.2 Referent Maintenance ............................................................................................. 34

5.2.3 Syntactic Elements in the prefield........................................................................... 36

5.2.4 Existential / Spatial ways of Referent Introduction................................................. 38

5.3 Swedish L2......................................................................................................................40

5.3.1 Referent Introduction............................................................................................... 42

5.3.2 Referent Maintenance ............................................................................................. 44

5.3.3 Syntactic Elements in the prefield........................................................................... 46

5.3.4 Existential / Spatial ways of Referent Introduction................................................. 48

5.4 Summary and brief comparison...................................................................................... 51

5.4.1 Referent Introduction............................................................................................... 51

5.4.2 Referent Maintenance.............................................................................................. 52

5.4.3 Syntactic elements in the prefield............................................................................ 52

5.4.4 Existential / Spatial perspective of Referent Introduction....................................... 53

6. Discussion ............................................................................................................................ 53

6.1 The learner language, Dutch L1 and Swedish L1: Internal comparisons....................... 54

6.1.1 ‘Mastery’ of the indefinite/ definite divide.............................................................. 54

6.1.2 Constituents of the prefield...................................................................................... 56

6.1.3 The high rate of S-V-X in the learner language.......................................................56

6.1.4 The issue of demonstratives.....................................................................................59

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6.1.5 The results and individual variation.........................................................................60

6.1.6 The results and the nature of the task.......................................................................60

6.2 The results and some reflections on language teaching.................................................. 61

6.2 The results and other research: External comparison..................................................... 64

6.2.1 The results and lack of comparable studies............................................................. 64

6.2.2 Indications of differences between closely related Germanic languages.................64

6.2.3 The results and the spatial/existential divide .......................................................... 66

7. Conclusion............................................................................................................................ 68

7.1 General conclusions........................................................................................................ 68

7.2 Problems with the study..................................................................................................69

7.3 Suggestions for future research.......................................................................................70

8. References.............................................................................................................................72

8.1 Internet sources............................................................................................................... 72

8.2 Literature.........................................................................................................................72

Appendix 1: The pictures..........................................................................................................77

Appendix 2: The transcripts......................................................................................................78

Appendix 3: List of definite referent introductions and indefinite referent maintenances ...... 83 iii

1. Introduction

In Second language acquisition research 1 , the focus has often been on acquiring grammatical

competence, not on acquiring the ability to use grammatical structures in adequate and idiomatic ways. Carroll & von Stutterheim (2003:366) note that “the acquisition of the individual grammatical means of a language does not automatically entail target-languagelike principles of information organization”. Thus, acquiring grammar does not mean that one can use grammar adequately in conversation. Mehan (1980:132) writes that “[t]he functional aspects of language concern effective language use in different social situations”. Appel &

Muysken (1987:148) write about ‘functional competence’ as opposed to ‘formal competence’.

I think that functional competence is a crucial factor for successful second language learning, one that has often been over-looked in language teaching.

The structuring of information into sentences and text, what is normally called

information structure, is one aspect of functional competence, i.e. ability to use language.

Ekerot (1979:85) is one among many who argues that we have to study language from a communicative perspective; others include e.g. well-known Hymes and his concept of

communicative competence.

2 From a communicative perspective language becomes a means of transferring information from speaker to hearer 3 and communication means adding new

information to what the hearer already knows, thus it includes structuring of new information.

The process of introducing new information to a discourse is also a cognitive process; the speaker visualizes a concept/idea inside her and tries to pass this on to the hearer.

Whilst the concept of old/given and new information is presumably universal for all languages, the ways in which this is encoded structurally (e.g. by word order, lexical means, prosody and morphological markers) vary across languages, and to some extent text type.

Other aspects of information structure concern what the speaker chooses to present to the hearer as the starting-point or ‘topic’ and what s/he says about that topic, what information is fore-grounded and which is back-grounded. Again, the concepts of starting point and comment can be assumed to be universal, but the ways they are encoded vary across

1 Or L2 acquisition research.

2 See Hymes . (2001 [1972], 2003 [1967]) for an introduction to Communicative Competence. For a development

3 of the concept see e.g. Young (2000).

This view can be questioned; in some parts of linguistics, e.g. Conversation Analysis (CA) the view is that meaning is created in and by interaction; communication is thus creating meaning and not transferring a message

‘from one end to the other’; see e.g. Sacks, Schegloff & Jefferson (1974) for a classic paper on CA. See also

Schegloff (2007). See Norrby (2004) for a basic and concise introduction to CA.

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languages. A major aspect of information structure is the before mentioned old/given and new information divide and how new information is introduced into the discourse.

Referent introduction, i.e. how objects are introduced in discourse, is one way of adding new information to a discourse. In the same way, referent maintenance, i.e. how the referents introduced are kept and continually referred to in discourse, is also a matter of adequate employment of information structure. Thus these features are of relevance for successful second language acquisition and adequate language use. A concept or a referent introduced in the discourse creates a mental representation inside both the speaker and the hearer.

The reader can notice traces from different linguistic perspectives in this paper; however, my intention is not to make any broader statement concerning the ‘correct’ way to view language as a whole. I believe that the study of referent introduction and maintenance as well as the broader field of L2 acquisition need a variety of perspectives in order for our understanding of language acquisition and use to develop. However, note that I maintain that the focus must be on how the mental representation of a referent introduced and maintained is manifested into words and thus how this representation is communicated; thus on the interaction between cognitive representation and use. Thus this is a study, in Chomskyan terms, concerned with performance (which is what I mean with functional competence) and

not primarily with the competence that lies behind it.

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Ekerot (1979:80f) states that language teaching for immigrants, e.g. SFI (Svenska För

Invandrare) in Sweden, often teaches students which structures are grammatical and has them practise syntactic transformations (e.g. whereby simple S-V-X sentences are turned into X-V-

S etc.) but does not focus on the strongly limited possibilities of choice we have in a given context. Ekerot (1979) maintains that what is necessary is not only to teach what is grammatically possible in principle but also why and when certain structures are used; i.e. what does a certain structure signal in that specific context? Information structure is something quite vague and diffuse as it consists of tendencies more than definite right and wrong; however, in mastering a language to the extent of nativeness or near-nativeness, I believe it to be a crucial factor. Yet, it is very rarely taught to students of a language.

Information structure is an aspect which is highly functional; it has little to do with what structures are grammatical, but with which ones are actually used. This is the reason why I think that studies such as the present one are important as it shows which structures are used by natives and compares this to the performance of learners. Introduction and maintenance of referents is an ‘every-day’ aspect of information structure and are therefore especially

4 See Chomsky (1965) for more on the competence/performance divide.

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important to learners on all levels; this is the reason for my choice of these aspects as the topic for this study.

Closely related languages are an interesting field of study, especially when focusing on second language acquisition due to the many similarities between the languages; a high amount of transfer can be expected, following the ideas of e.g. Schwartz & Sprouse (1996).

Because of this, and the subtle differences in information structure between German and

Swedish, two closely related Germanic languages, found by Bohnacker & Rosén (2007, 2008,

2009), I have chosen to study another combination of two closely related Germanic languages, namely Swedish and Dutch.

This paper studies the way referents are introduced and maintained in oral descriptions of pictures, in Swedish L1, Dutch L1 and Swedish L2. More specifically, what will be studied is what means that are used to introduce referents (objects), which are a type of new information, into a discourse, how these referents are maintained, i.e. how a type of ‘old’ information is conveyed, and which perspective (existential/spatial) is used to introduce referents. This paper looks, through a small quantitative study, at aspects of information

structure of the Swedish learner language 5 of one learner with Dutch as his first language.

This is then compared to samples of Swedish L1 as well as to Dutch L1. To my knowledge, no study with this topic and language combination has been carried out and this work can thus be regarded as explorative. This paper is based partly on the work on referent introduction and maintenance and existential/spatial perspective by Carroll et al. (2000) and Carroll & von

Stutterheim (1993, 2003), and the work on information structure by Ute Bohnacker and

Christina Rosén for the combination of Swedish and German.

This paper proceeds as follows. Chapter 2 gives the theoretical background. In that section the formal syntactic structure of Dutch and Swedish is briefly compared (Section 2.1), then the concept of information structure is described (Section 2.2), including a brief look at studies of information structure of Dutch and Swedish. Further on, the concept of referent introduction and maintenance is described (Section 2.3) and finally there is a short section on studies of Dutch learners of Swedish. In Chapter 3 the problem definition and aim of this study is further clarified. In Chapter 4 a description of the method used is given together with detailed descriptions of the data collection and the informants. Chapter 5 contains the results, where statistical data as well as examples from the data are given; in this chapter a brief analysis of the data is also provided. Because of the explorative nature of this study, the

5 The terms learner language and interlanguage are used interchangeably in this paper. For more on interlanguage as a term, see Selinker (1972) who originally coined the term. For a brief but clear discussion of interlanguage see also Appel & Muysken (1987:83-92).

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results will be presented in detail and thus this chapter will constitute a substantial part of this paper. In Chapter 6 the results and analysis are discussed, with references to the theoretical background as well as to ideas I gained during the work with the data. Chapter 7 contains some general conclusions, a brief discussion of problems with this study and finally some suggestions for future research.

2. Theoretical background and earlier studies

In this chapter I will give an overview of the theoretical background of this study, starting with a brief overview of the syntactic structure of Dutch and Swedish (Section 2.1). Then, an introduction into the topic of information structure will be given (Section 2.2). After that, the concept of referent introduction and maintenance will be described and discussed (Section

2.3). Finally, there will be a short section on studies of Dutch learners of Swedish (Section

2.4).

2.1 The syntactic structure of Dutch and Swedish: a brief overview and comparison

In this section a brief overview and comparison of Swedish and Dutch syntax will be made.

This overview will be limited to those aspects judged to be important for the purposes of this paper.

Dutch and Swedish are two closely related languages (Rawoens 2007:1). Both are

Germanic languages, where Swedish belongs to the North Germanic and Dutch to the West

Germanic branch (Moberg et al. 2007:58). I have not been able to find any percentage of

cognates in the two languages 6 ; another sign that this combination has not been researched to

any greater extent.

The basic word order of Swedish is often described as S-V-O (subject-verb-object)

(Bolander 2005:199), even though a more accurate description would be V-O, as the subject does not always have to precede the verb but that the verb typically precedes the object. Dutch

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Gooskens, van Bezooijen & Kürschner (not published:1) write “These two Germanic languages share many stems due to their common origin in Proto-Germanic. So, originally their lexicons were very similar. However, the two languages have diverged considerably, as a consequence of both language internal and language external factors, in particular language contact”; Bohnacker & Rosén (2007:30) give a figure of 80% cognates for

Swedish and German; it is likely that the number for Dutch and Swedish is similar.

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is considered to be an O-V language 7 ; however, the differences between Dutch and Swedish

lie in the ordering of object and non-finite verb, where the non-finite verb in Dutch usually follows the object and in the word order of subordinate clauses were the Dutch main verb comes at the end. Otherwise, both languages are restrained by the V2-constraint and finite verb placement in declaratives is identical; both languages exhibit X-Vfin-Y (See section

2.1.1).

2.1.1 Verb Second and the “prefield”

Dutch, as well as Swedish (see Bolander (2005:189, 201) is a so-called V2 language. This means that in Dutch “like many Germanic languages, the tensed verb of the highest clause must appear in second position” (Frazier 1987:526), i.e. in main clauses the verb is always placed in second position. The verb second constraint gives Dutch and Swedish similar

structures of declarative main clauses.

8 The V2-structure creates an important position before

the verb, namely the prefield.

The basic structure of Swedish declaratives is the following (Ekerot 1979:83):

1) Finite verb in second position

2) Other constituents (subject, non-finite verb, object, adverbials) have fixed positions to the right of the finite verb

3) One of these constituents, the subject or some other constituent needs to be placed clause initially, as the fundament (prefield).

This corresponds to the structure of Dutch declarative main clauses.

Word order is more fixed in Swedish than in many other languages (Ekerot 1979:82).

However, Dutch is not less restricted, but also has a fixed word order, as word order is used in

Dutch as well as in Swedish to express subject/object relations.

The preverbial slot (Carroll & von Stutterheim 2003) or the prefield (Ger. Vorfeld, Swe. fundament), is the position before the verb in declaratives of V2 languages, i.e. it is the syntactic Position 1 (Bolander 2005:200). In both Swedish and Dutch, subjects and adverbials as well as objects and other constituents such as predicatives, fronted verbs, VP’s or particles etc. can be positioned in the prefield; it is thus not a slot which is restricted to a specific constituent. The prefield often contains constituents which are known information (Bolander

2005:204). Generally, this means subjects, but theoretically all kinds of constituents can

7 See e.g. Erteschik-Shir (2007:60): ”languages with basic OV (e.g. Dutch)”.

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Except for the fact that if a second verb occurs, in infinite form, this always comes at the end of Dutch clauses, just as in German. See de Rooy & Wikén Bonde (2005:148).

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grammatically be placed in the prefield. De Vries (2009:2) writes about Dutch that “In unmarked sentences, the subject is positioned leftmost. However, depending on the intended information structure, every constituent can be moved to the first position instead, triggering inversion. This is called topicalization. The same is true for Swedish; whereas a subject most often has position 1, this position can also be given to another constituent, depending on

information structural features.

9 Dutch, like German, has a higher number of different pronominal adverbs 10 than Swedish, they for instance appear in the prefield and this

construction is widely used both in informal speech and in writing. The Swedish language almost completely lacks this kind of elements and the few that are used belong to the formal,

written language (e.g. därefter ‘after that/then’, därtill ‘in addition to that’)

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.

De Vries (2009:3) writes that “the initial field is divided into two qualitatively different components, namely the prefield, which is an essential part of the clause, and the ‘true’ left periphery, which may contain a dislocated constituent”. It is important to differentiate between the prefield and what he calls the ‘left periphery’; the periphery contains elements which do not affect the syntactical structure of main clauses. Following e.g. Bohnacker &

Rosén (2009:3, 2007:31) conjunctions as well as parts of the utterance which are divided from the main clause by a pause, are here seen as non-affecting elements and are thus not counted

as occurring in the prefield in the analysis of my data.

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Bohnacker & Rosén (2007:32) note that: ”the prefield is especially important for communication as it anchors the clause in discourse”. It is also of importance to the introduction of referents as, even though not all referents are introduced in main declarative clauses, the prefield helps structuring the text and thus is one factor which determines the

perspective of referent introduction.

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D. Håkansson (2006) gives figures of subjects in the prefield: 14 for spoken Swedish 62% and 60% for interview and conversation/debate data respectively.

15 Bohnacker & Rosén

(2008:517) give a figure of 73% of subjects in the prefield for informal written Swedish.

9 See Section 2.2 for an introduction to information structure.

10 See de Rooy & Wikén Bonde (2005:89ff) or van Toorn (1984:232f) for more about pronominal adverbs in

Dutch.

11 For example in the old Swedish saying Därom tvista de lärde ‘this the learned argue about’, a pronominal adverb is used in the prefield; however, the nature of this sentence shows the type of contexts where pronominal adverbs are used in Swedish.

12 “We disregard coordinating conjunctions here, as they are not treated as clausal constituents, but as linking words with no influence on word-order. Utterance-initial elements separated by a pause or intonation break, e.g. left-dislocated constituents, vocatives and interjections, are not considered to be part of the prefield”. (Bohnacker & Rosén, 2007:31)

13 See Section 2.3.1 for more on perspectives of referent introduction.

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See Section 2.1.2 for more about the prefield.

15 Figures from Jörgensen (1976:103) and Westman (1974:155); see Håkansson (2006) for references.

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Bohnacker & Rosén (2007:33f) write that “according to G. Håkansson (1997:50), 60% of all declaratives in Swedish, German, Dutch and Icelandic begin with a subject, whilst 40% are non-subject-initial. However, no empirical evidence is provided for this claim”. Thus according to G. Håkansson (1997), Swedish and Dutch should show similarities in this respect, something which is of relevance to this study.

2.1.2 Expletive constructions

Swedish is a verb second (V2) language with the finite verb in second position in declarative clause and has what is called platshållartvång (Ekerot 1979:83, Bolander 204:165); this means that the first position of the clause cannot be left empty but most be occupied by some constituent. When the logical subject is moved to the position after the verb (inversion), an expletive subject or another constituent has to occupy the first position. This has been shown to be a problem for learners of Swedish as L2 (Hammarberg & Viberg 1979). However, the

structure of Dutch is very similar; Dutch has what is called topisch er 16 ‘topical it/that’, which

is also called noodzakelijk plaatsonderwerp lit. ‘necessary place-topic’ (van den Toorn

1984:230), i.e. a construction and structural constraint that is very similar to the Swedish one.

Thus, from a contrastive perspective this aspect should not be a problem for Dutch L1 learners of Swedish. The following are examples of the structure Expl-V-logical S in Swedish and Dutch:

(1) det finns kaffe

it is coffee

‘there is coffee’

(2) er is koffie

it/there is coffee

The Dutch expletive construction er is “there is” is the equivalence of the Swedish det

är/det finns (de Rooy & Wikén Bonde 2005:92). These constructions are common 17 in both

languages, and constitute one way of introducing referents, in the form of er is een X and det

finns en/ett X ‘there is a(n) X’.

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Expletive det in Swedish can have different positions in the clause; however, it is frequently placed in first position. Er as a formal subject always has position 1, according to de Rooy & Wikén Bonde (2005:146); however it can also have other positions where it could

16 For more about the diverse functions of er, see van den Toorn (1984:230f) or de Rooy & Wikén Bonde

(2005:91ff).

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However, I do not have any percentages for how common these constructions are in the languages.

See section 2.3.1 for spatial/existential perspective of referent introduction.

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also be classified as a weak locational adverb (‘there’); in these cases I believe that the classification is not straight-forward as can be seen in the following constructed example where the Swedish det is classified as an expletive but what about the Dutch er in the same position filling the same role?

(3) Swe: nu finns det kaffe (4) Dut: nu is er koffie

now is it/there

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coffee

now is it/there coffee

‘now there is coffee’

As can be seen in the examples above, Swedish det and Dutch er have a very similar, almost identical, function also when not placed in the prefield.

2.2 Information Structure

In this section a brief overview of information structure 20 will be given; it needs to be kept in

mind, however, that the terminology used by different authors often lacks clear definitions as well as general agreement. Therefore, I have chosen to present mainly one version of the concept of information structure, namely the concept as brought forward by Mörnsjö (2002).

“The term ‘information structure’ refers both to the organization of information in the sentence and to information structuring above the sentence level, namely the organization of information in the text” (Mörnsjö 2002:17). In this paper, my focus is on the structure of

sentences, i.e. the micro-level.

21 This is partly due to restrictions of the size of this study; to

study the information structure of whole texts, a larger quantity of data would be needed, collection of which has not been possible in the frame of this study. This is also one of the reasons for the choice of referent introduction and maintenance as the aspect of information

structure to be studied.

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Information structure is something which is tied to the use of clauses for linguistic communication (Ekerot 1979:86) and “the study of information structure is not concerned with lexical and propositional content in the abstract but with the way such content is transmitted” (Lambrecht 1994:3); i.e. it concerns “organising information for expression”

19 Note also the ambiguity of it/there in English.

20 Also sometimes called e.g. discourse structure, text grammar, text structure, discourse pragmatics.

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For structure on the macro-level, see e.g. Labov (2006[1972]), Tannen & Wallat (2006[1987]), Tannen

(2006[1981]), Schegloff (2007) etc.

22 I think that this is a topic well-suited for analysis on the sentence-level even though I acknowledge the need for research on the text, or macro, level as well; coherence on the macro level is of outermost importance for the performance of second language learners.

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(Carroll & von Stutterheim 2003:365). The perspective taken in this paper is that information structure is both functional and cognitive, i.e. it is both a matter of communicative functions and the cognitive representations inside speakers and hearers.

When studying information structure one tries to answer the following questions: How

do speakers, once content has been selected, encode this content? How do they structure the

presentation of information to the hearer? In other words: “In addition to deciding what to say, speakers must decide how to say it” (Ward & Birner 2003:119). Information structure is also sometimes called discourse pragmatics and “is concerned with the question of why one and the same meaning may be expressed by two or more sentence forms” (Lambrecht

1994:5). Different information structures have the purpose of answering different questions

(Ekerot 1979:85f), there is a selection of text type or what Klein & von Stutterheim (1987) call the quaestio, the overarching question a text tries to answer.

The description used by Mörnsjö (2002) is the three layer model of information structure of Molnár (1991) which is based on Bühler’s (1934) ideas of:

“three fundamental components of the communicative situation, namely that things or states of affairs will be described (‘Darstellung’) and be conveyed to a hearer

(‘Appell’) in a manner that obeys the intentions of the speaker (‘Ausdruck’)”

(Mörnsjö 2002:17).

The three levels, which each correspond to one of the components of the communicative situations, are: topic-comment, theme-rheme and background-focus. These are thought to be relatively independent of each other, even though these categories have some tendencies to overlap. It is important to point out that this is only one of the many models proposed and this one, with its three layers, is one of the more complex ones. Other models with only two layers

or even one layer, with only topic and focus 23 have also been proposed.

Mörnsjö (2002:18) writes that “topic stands for what the sentence is about and comment for the prediction made with respect to the topic”; i.e. the comment is what is said about the topic. Further, “theme is what the speaker assumes the hearer to know and rheme is what the speaker assumes to be new information for the hearer” (Mörnsjö 2002:18), i.e. theme is given and rheme new information. Ward & Birner (2003:121) make the distinction between discourse new/old and hearer old/new; where other things can be assumed to be old to the hearer irrelevant of the discourse and where certain things are not generally known to the hearer but have become old in the current discourse. There is also the distinction between

23 Mostly in the Anglo-Saxon tradition.

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what the speaker “would like to highlight in the utterance, i.e. focus, whereas the remainder of the utterance constitutes the background” (Mörnsjö 2002:18). Ward & Birner maintain that focus “refers to that portion of an utterance that represents new information” (Ward & Birner

2003:120) 24 , which is not completely the same; however, new information is often put in

focus.

Concerning information structure and second language acquisition, Carroll & von

Stutterheim (2003:372) write that “although the learner varieties of very advanced learners are characterised by a high degree of formal accuracy, their use of linguistic structures in context, i.e. form function relations, do not correspond to those found in the target language”. They propose that different languages have different “preferred patterns of information organisation” (Carroll & von Stutterheim 2003:396) and that this poses a problem for second language learners; a problem which is harder to overcome than that of acquiring formal aspects of syntax. In order to be a fluent speaker, one must master the native patterns of information structure, something that is more complex than to master grammatical forms, as informational patterns are not made up of categorical or explicit rules as found in a grammar but only constitute tendencies.

The following two sections summarize relevant aspects of some studies on information structure in Swedish and Dutch respectively. As information structure is a large field, Section

2.3 homes in on the more specified area of referent introduction and maintenance relevant for the purposes of the present study.

2.2.1 Information Structure in Swedish: Earlier studies

Information structure in Swedish has not been widely researched. However, there are some studies of the subject, even concerning second language acquisition, most notable the work by

Ute Bohnacker and Christina Rosén on Swedish learners of German and vice versa.

Bohnacker & Rosén (2007, 2008, 2009) found that Swedish compared to German has a higher tendency to place constituents of low informational value, such as the expletive det (it) or thematic elements in the prefield; more declaratives in Swedish begin with a formal subject than in German. Swedish, to a higher degree than German, follows “a principle of information structure that we called “rheme later”, where informationally new (i.e. rhematic, focal) material is kept out of the clause-initial position, and instead is placed further to the right, i.e.

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Following an information-structural model of only the layer of topic (known information) and focus (new information).

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postverbally” (Bohnacker & Rosén, 2007:53). Bohnacker (2008) also showed that advanced

German L1 learners of Swedish L2 do not master the patterns of information structure found in native Swedish. Further on Bohnacker & Rosén (2008:38) write that:

“We therefore suggest that there are subtle differences between Swedish and

German concerning the linguistic means used in referent introduction. These cross-linguistic differences are not categorical (grammatical vs. ungrammatical), but tendencies, yet their mastery is an integral part of language competence.”

The quotation above clearly shows that this is indeed an important field of study as it is highly relevant for second language acquisition.

2.2.2 Information Structure in Dutch: Theories and earlier studies

The information structure of Dutch has, as far as I can tell, not been widely researched and I have not been able to find many studies. Those I have found were mostly carried out in phonetics, looking at how information structure is linked to prosody.

Steedman (1990) found that interpretation of intonational patterns, what can be called

‘intonational structure’, is related to patterns of information structure. This was researched for

Dutch by Swerts, Krahmer & Avesani (2002), who found that information status (new/old) affects whether or not an NP is accented in Dutch. Similar results were obtained by van Son

& Pols (2003). However, as my study does not concern intonation and stress, these studies do not contain anything of value for me; except the fact that they point towards the importance of acquiring information structure as it can be reflected not only in word order patterns but also in the domain of phonology.

Nuyts & Vonk (1999) found a connection between information structure and the use of epistemic modal expressions in Dutch native oral descriptions of a short cartoon; however, since they are mainly concerned with determining the adjectives and adverbs used in such descriptions, their results are tangential to my study. Still, Nuyts & Vonk (1999) give an additional ‘proof’ that information structure is indeed important for the structure of natives’ speech and thus something to take into account when learning a language.

Ehrich & Koster (1983) carried out a study of room descriptions in Dutch (their study concerned descriptions of three dimensional miniature rooms), looking at both macro and

11

micro aspects of discourse organization. The results are presented as general 25 and the authors

seem unaware of possible differences between languages with regard to the organisation of room descriptions; in fact they do not even once in the description of their study mention the fact the subjects researched had Dutch as their mother tongue! This insensitivity to at least potential differences lowers the value of their study. In two pilot studies and four experiments,

Ehrich & Koster (1983) researched various issues concerning word order, linearization, and the role of pre-existing knowledge for discourse organization. Due to the many aspects researched, the results are complex but some main points can be mentioned: linearization of speech and thus segmentation of speech into sequences seems to be made on the basis of information structure with different types of linearization modes. Depending on the structure of the contents of the room, different strategies were used by the subjects studied. One interesting finding that is relevant for my study was the fact that Ehrich & Koster (1983) noticed that definite articles in the beginning of a description segment (i.e. where referents had not previously been mentioned in the discourse) were mostly used for items included in the ‘frame’ of the room, i.e. for walls, floor and ceiling. Ehrich & Koster (1983) maintained that this is due to the fact that the existence of such objects in a room is common knowledge between speaker and hearer (Ehrich & Koster 1983:189f). Thus segmentation and linearization of speech has both a cognitive and a communicative side (Ehrich & Koster

1983:192), an idea which is highly compatible with my own ideas.

2.3 Referent Introduction and Maintenance

Nakamura (1993:86) writes that “[c]hildren must acquire ways of distinguishing referent introduction from reference maintenance and marking referents based on the degree to which the identity of the entities can be more or less presupposed from context”. This is true for second language learners as well. Managing referent introductions and maintenance is an important part of functional knowledge of a language, as this concerns language use in context and not the creation of grammatically correct sentences. Thus, I believe referent introduction and maintenance to be closely linked to patterns of information structure.

Geluykens (1993:182) writes that “the introduction of referents in conversation, and the subsequent tracking of these referents, is an interactional process which depends heavily on speaker-hearer co-operation”; in addition to this I, as brought forward above, claim that in

25

In fact the only place where the study is said to concern Dutch is mentioned is in the title, otherwise Ehrich &

Koster (1983) write about discourse organization in general.

12

addition to being a communicative and functional aspect of language use it is also a cognitive process where the mental representation of an object is triggered through making reference to that object.

The term discourse referent was introduced by Karttunen (1969) who suggests that indefinite nouns phrases are used to introduce new discourse referents whereas anaphoric expressions (e.g. pronouns) and definite forms are used to ‘pick up’ discourse referents, i.e. for referent maintenance. Karttunen writes that “[b]y ‘establishes a discourse referent’ we meant that there may be a co-referential pronoun or definite noun phrase later on in the discourse” (Karttunen 1969:34), i.e. a referent is introduced when it is possible to later refer to that object again using a definite form/pronoun (i.e. to maintain it). Referent maintenance is the continued mentioning of the referent, i.e. “all linguistic expressions referring to a protagonist after that first act of referring to that particular protagonist” (Hendriks 2003:299).

A referent, following Karttunen (1969), is not only an animate entity but any object or substance, thus ‘protagonist’ in the quotation above should be seen as meaning simply

‘referent’. An example of a standard referent introduction and maintenance would be the following: ‘There is a cake on the table. I take the cake from the table.’ Here a referent, cake, is first introduced into the discourse using an indefinite article and then, in the second sentence, the same referent is maintained using the definite article.

Note the following: with referent I do not mean an object in pictures used as stimuli, but an object of the discourse. Thus, any object mentioned is a referent, not only those which de facto exist on the pictures. The reason for this is that my concern is not so much how ‘real objects’ are described but rather how referents are introduced and maintained in discourse.

However, most of the referents introduced by the speakers in the present study are in fact

‘normal’, non-problematic, referents, in that they are objects in the pictures and can thus be said to be ‘real’ referent, i.e. they do exist as real, physical objects (as objects ob a picture) outside of the discourse. They are thus introduced mainly by indefinite expressions and are and can be maintained in a ‘regular’ way (i.e. definite forms of anaphoric expressions) in the discourse.

Even though Karttunen (1969:4f) claims that when a negation is used, no referent is introduced; I believe that for the purpose of this paper, it is the idea of an object that is important, not whether or not it exists. Even the negation of an object brings the idea of that

object. You cannot ‘not think of X’ - it always entails first thinking of X, e.g. consider the following sentence: There is no cake on the table. Is it not so that in order to be able to state that there is no cake on the table, one need not only to know what a cake is and see that it is

13

not there but the very act of stating this makes it impossible not to think of a cake. However, it is surely true that negated referents cannot be maintained in the ordinary way by using a definite form or a pronoun, as what is stated is that some referent does not exist in a particular

discourse. They can, however, be ‘re-introduced’, 26 but it would then have to be in the

indefinite form. Karttunen (1969) also claims that referents cannot be said to be introduced in the ‘normal’ sense in clauses containing a modal verb, as these do not state how things are

(Karttunen 1969:8f). Just as with the case of negated referents, I believe that stating ‘I would like a cake’ still introduces the mental representation of a cake in the mind of the hearer; that this cake has no physical existence does not make it any less a referent. However, as far as the maintenance of such a cake is concerned, it also differs from the ‘regular’ way as it can indeed be maintained using a normal definite expression or pronoun, but the rest of the sentence cannot be in indicative mode, e.g. ‘The cake would have to be tasty, otherwise I do not want it’, “provided that the discourse continues in the same mode” (Karttunen 1969:19).

Karttunen suggests that such referents may be termed short term referents 27 (1969:18f); i.e.

they cannot exist outside the scope of the modal; they can not be maintained later in the discourse. Karttunen (1969) further discusses different types of verbs and structures that may or may not lead to the introduction of a referent, or to a short term referent. Basically, his criterion is that a referent is only introduced if it can be maintained using a definite form or an anaphoric expression. I believe that this is true for referents that are said to exist (in ‘reality’) but that this does not cover every type of referent, as for me a referent is in fact the same as

‘the idea of an object’, irrelevant of what is stated about it.

Karttunen (1969) tries to answer the question: When is there supposed to be an individual associated with an indefinite noun phrase? He claims that “[a] non-specific indefinite NP in an affirmative sentence (single sentence or a complement) establishes a discourse referent just in case the proposition represented by the sentence is asserted, implied or presupposed by the speaker to be true” (1969:13); thus he is looking for the existence of a referent. Instead, I will be concerned with the question: When is there an idea of an individual/entity/object/substance stemming from the use of an (indefinite) noun phrase? This,

I believe, is the reason why our ideas of what constitutes a referent differ; in order to have an idea (i.e. a mental representation) of an object, such an object does not need to be mentioned as existing in the discourse, the simple mentioning of the object (i.e. the (indefinite) noun phrase) is enough to trigger the mental representation. Note that in the present study, I will

26

Something which is very similar to maintenance; similar enough for the purpose of this paper.

27 In opposition to ‘normal’ asserted referents that are permanent referents (Karttunen 1969:34).

14

use my concept of referent when counting occurrences in the data; using Karttunen’s framework the amount of referents would have been lower. I am sure, however, that this would not greatly affect the patterns of referent introduction and maintenance as to be reported here.

A special category of referents are those introduced with definite form; a category which

Karttunen (1969) does not mention.

28 I suggest that these are referents whose existence is

taken for granted, i.e. it is presupposed that the discourse contains them and that the hearer has knowledge of the existence of these referents. The existence of such referents is a type of presupposed information; “information that the speaker assumes is already a part of the common ground” (Ward & Birner 2003:120). Because of this, definite forms can be used even though the referents have not been mentioned earlier in the discourse. An example of this is the following fictive example: ‘This is a bedroom. The walls are yellow.’ The referent

walls have not been previously mentioned in the discourse; yet in the context of describing a bedroom it would be presupposed that the room has walls and the sentence above would constitute an acceptable and normal way of introducing the walls to the hearer.

Hendriks (2003:291) states that in “West-European languages” 29 indefinite articles are a

marker of new information and that speakers of most languages mark ‘newness’. Following this as well as Karttunen (1969), indefinite forms would be expected to be used for referent introduction in both Swedish and Dutch, whereas definite forms and anaphoric expressions such as pronouns would be used for maintenance in both languages.

2.3.1 Spatial vs. Existential perspective of Referent Introduction and

Maintenance

Carroll & von Stutterheim (2003) and Carroll et al (2000) collected different kinds of oral descriptions made by native speakers of English, German, French, Italian and Spanish and of learner varieties with the combinations L1 English-L2 German, L1 German-L2 English and

L1 Spanish-L2 German. They found two perspectives of referent introduction 30 in these

descriptions; the spatially based perspective with a “high rate of locationals in reference

28

As he presupposes that introduction of a discourse referents is made using an indefinite form.

29 I believe that what she means with this is the West-European Indo-European languages, i.e. in fact Romance and Germanic languages only. See also Hendriks (1998:69), where this view is supported. However, I also think that this is a clumsy, not to say wrong, way of expressing this as not all West-European languages are Indo-

European (what about e.g. Basque and Finnish?).

30 Carroll & von Stutterheim (2003) and Carroll et al. (2000) use the term reference introduction and

maintenance, whereas I find the term ‘referent introduction and maintenance’ more suitable, as it concerns the introduction/maintenance of a referent, i.e. an object.

15

introduction” (2003:370) and proadverbials used for maintenance, which was prevalent in native German, and the object based perspective with subject-initial referent introduction using expletives, i.e. what they termed existential constructions, and nominal forms used for referent maintenance. This latter perspective was the one favoured by native speakers of

English and the Romance languages. In the spatially based perspective “the main organization principle is based on concepts in the spatial domain” whereas with an object based perspective “the organization principle is object based /…/ that is, the domain of entities provides the basis for the underlying perspective in organizing information” (Carroll et al.

2000:445). According to these authors, the difference between the two perspectives can be phrased in the following way: the descriptions made are on the basis of two different questions. Either the question underlying the organization of the information is ‘What is where?’ (object based perspective) or ‘Where is what?’ (spatially based perspective) (Carroll et al 2000:446). Concerning referent introduction, which is the focus of this paper, these two perspectives are reflected in the use of existential or locational constructions (Carroll et al

2000:447).

An important finding here is not only that languages may differ in the way they introduce referents but also that second language learners have problems with mastering the perspective of the target language. When Carroll & von Stutterheim (2003) and Carroll et al

(2000) compared the native speaker data to the data from L2 German and L2 English they found that “learners retain the underlying principles of their source language” (Carroll & von

Stutterheim 2003:366), thus not acquiring a target-like perspective of referent introduction and maintenance.

For Swedish, Bolander (2005:210) discussed constructions of presentation

(presenteringskonstruktion), which have two forms: one which begins with expletive det followed by finns ‘is’ or an intransitive verb such as sitter ‘sits’, ligger ‘lies’, hänger ‘hangs’, and another which begins with a locative adverbial, e.g. på väggen ‘on the wall’ or under

sängen ‘under the bed’. An example of the former would be Det hänger tavlor på väggen

‘there are paintings (hanging) on the wall’ and of the latter På bordet står en kopp ‘on the table there is a cup’. The former represents an existential perspective on the introduced referent whereas the latter expresses a spatial perspective. Both of these constructions are also possible as well as used in Dutch. An example of the ‘existential’ construction of presentation would be the following: Er hangen schilderijen aan de muur ‘there are paintings (hanging) on the wall’. The following is a Dutch example of the construction beginning with an adverbial:

Aan de tafel staat een kopje ‘on the table there is a cup’.

16

With the object based perspective the subject (here coinciding with the referent) has topic status in the clause, whilst with the spatially based perspective the adverbial constitutes the topic. Reinhart (1981) writes about adverbial topics that “in many cases, it seems that a temporal (or locative) adverb […] fulfills the requirements needed for topic status” (Reinhart

1981:72 quoted in Mörnsjö 2002:19).

31 Following Reinhardt (1981), Mörnsjö (2002:19) calls these aboutness topics, 32 a term which is similar to Chafe’s (1976) notion of Rahmentopik

‘frame topic’.

2.4 Studies of Dutch learners of Swedish

I have not been able to find any relevant studies of Dutch learners of Swedish. Of the few studies with this language combination, none are relevant for the purposes of my study. This is a very unusual language combination, partly due to the relatively low numbers of Dutch learners of Swedish as well as of Swedish and Dutch native speakers. For this reason the present work is to be viewed as explorative.

31 See Mörnsjö (2002) for reference.

32

“Although subjects universally show a very strong correlation with topics, other referential arguments may occur as ‘aboutness’ topics as well” (Mörnsjö 2002:19).

17

3. Problem definition and Aims

The overall aim of this paper is to study if and how information structure differs between closely related languages, specifically for the genre/text type of oral descriptions of pictures.

Earlier studies have shown that even closely related languages such as German and Swedish

differ with respect to features of information structure.

33 This then poses problems for learners

of the languages as even advanced learners have been found to retain their native patterns of

information structure in their L2.

34

In this small explorative ‘pilot’ study, the aim is to look at information structural patterns of Swedish L1 and Dutch L1 and if they differ and then to compare them with data from Swedish L2. As the data collected is limited the purpose is to see if any tendencies can be found. The research questions are the following:

-

Do Dutch L1 and Swedish L1 differ in their patterns of information structure in the area of referent introductions and maintenance and prefield constituents in picture descriptions?

-

Does the L2 learner adhere to the target language (Swedish) patterns, the patterns of

his mother tongue (Dutch), or does his interlanguage exhibit different patterns?

The more precise aim here is to look at how the Swedish L2 differs from native Swedish concerning the following aspects of information structure of picture descriptions and how this can be related to the learner’s mother-tongue (in this case Dutch):

- How are referents introduced (referent introduction) and re-introduced (referent maintenance), both in terms of indefinite/definite forms and in terms of spatial and existential

(object related) perspective?

- Concerning the distribution of syntactic elements in the prefield: What types of syntactic elements are usually found in the prefield?

33 See Bohnacker (2007, 2008), Bohnacker & Rosén (2007, 2008, 2009).

34

See Carroll et al (2000), Carroll & von Stutterheim (1993, 2003) for more on advanced learner picture descriptions and spatial/existential perspective.

18

4. Method & data collection

This study is based on oral material collected from 1 Dutch L1 learner of Swedish, audiorecording him in both Dutch L1 and Swedish L2, and from 3 Swedish L1 native controls. The recordings were transcribed and manually coded according to the categories specified below.

Using two pictures depicting rooms as stimuli, semi-structured oral data was collected and analyzed.

4.1 The learner

The learner is in his mid-twenties and is a student of a Master’s Program (in English) at a

Swedish university. Dutch is his mother-tongue and was his only language until the age of 11, when he started to learn English at school (a total of 7 years). He also took German for 5 years (starting at the age of 12), which he speaks more or less fluently, and 2 years of French

(starting at the age of 12), of which he now has some basic knowledge. As he lived for almost one year in Estonia, he learned some Estonian partly through interaction and partly through receiving some lessons.

At the time of the recordings the learner had spent a total of approximately 13,5 months in Sweden, divided in two periods, the first from August 2007 until January 2008 (5 months) and from July 2008 until mid-March 2009 (approximately 8,5 months).

In Sweden and in the Netherlands the learner received some formal instruction of

Swedish, corresponding to approximately 75 hours. There he reached proficiency level B2 of

the Council of Europe’s Common Reference Levels.

35 In Sweden he also passed the test of the

SFI (Svenskundervisning för invandrare, Swedish for Immigrants 36 ) level D (which corresponds to levels B1/B2 37 ) in the autumn of 2008. Still, most of his acquisition of Swedish

has been naturalistic, through engaging in conversations with native Swedes. He can thus be classified as upper intermediate as he can make himself understood in most every-day situations but does not have a complete mastery of the Swedish grammar and also not a complete vocabulary. He states himself that he has not been taught anything related to information structure in any of his language courses and that focus was on syntactic and grammatical structure.

35 For more information about the different levels, see http://www.britishcouncil.org/slovenia-exams-cambridgeeurope-language-levels.htm

36

37

See http://www.skolverket.se/sb/d/389 (in Swedish)

See http://www.skolverket.se/sb/d/471/ (in Swedish)

19

As the purpose of this paper is to look at the effects of Dutch on Swedish, I will simply use the terms Dutch L1 and Swedish L2, even though Swedish formally is not the learner’s second language/first foreign language. This is the standard procedure in second language learning/acquisition research, except where the purpose is to study the effect of an L2 on the process of L3 acquisition, which is not the case here.

4.2 Native controls

The native controls are three women of the same age range 38 and educational group as the

learner. They are all undergraduate students in the later parts of their studies, having studied almost 3 years at the university. They all come from the same region in Sweden, the province of Gävleborg (the coastal area slightly south of the middle of Sweden), something which might be noteworthy since even though Sweden is generally thought to have few dialects showing traits distinctly different from the standard language, their linguistic behaviour may be partly coloured by their dialectal background. However, as they come from a region with a dialect fairly close rikssvenska (the standard variety), I believe they could be representative for the language of educated Swedes in that age group.

One of the native controls, native control 2, is the author herself, the others were recruited through personal contacts. Except for choosing native controls from the same dialect area, and matching them with the learner when it comes to socio-educational aspects and age there were not any special reasons for choosing those three persons. They were chosen partly because of their accessibility. This method of recruitment of informants can be questioned; however, I think that for the purpose of this study any Swedish native speaker fulfilling the criteria of age and educational level would be a good informant. The native controls’ affiliation with the author has not affected the way the material has been collected or analysed.

4.3 The stimuli: the two pictures

The pictures used as stimuli for the description task were simple colour drawings. They depicted two different rooms (See Appendix 1). The first picture showed a bathroom where a woman was present. The second one showed a bedroom, possibly that of a child. The pictures did not contain the same items, as this was thought to possibly influence the learner’s choice

38 The women are between 23-25 years old.

20

of words. The pictures were chosen with the intent that they should contain fairly simple, every-day objects, so as not to pose a problem for the learner. More complex pictures would have put a higher focus on vocabulary with additional stress on the learner when ‘searching for the correct word’. In turn, this would have disturbed the learner’s syntactic structure and thus make analysis of the information structure of the learner language misleading. In order to make sure that enough data would be gained, i.e. that a sufficient number of referent introductions would be made, it was decided to use two simple pictures, instead of one more complex one, which was thought to possibly lead to the above mentioned problems for the learner.

4.4 Data collection & analysis

The data consists of recordings of informal, oral descriptions of the above described pictures, lasting approximately 2-5 minutes each. The learner was recorded describing the two pictures in both Dutch (L1) and Swedish (L2). The learner was recorded twice in Swedish (L2), the first time on 10 th of March 2009 and the second time on 2 nd of April 2009. This was done since his first descriptions turned out to be fairly short and thus did not provide enough data.

The Dutch L1 and Swedish L2 data consists of 476 words (ca 10 min) and 747 words (ca 14 minutes) respectively. The Swedish native controls where recorded once for each of the pictures, giving a total of 1678words (around 18-20 minutes) of Swedish L1. These recordings were all made between 7 th

and 10 th

of March 2009.

This yielded a total of two recordings of Dutch L1, six recordings of Swedish L1 and four recordings of Swedish L2. The learner and the native controls were recorded while, in an

interactive setting, describing two pictures to another person.

39 The situation of describing the

pictures was structured (as the task was clear, i.e. to communicate the content of the pictures to the other person) but it was an informal setting. Thus, the data recorded is not spontaneous

production but the language used has an informal character.

40 The two persons were sitting

opposite to each other and positioned in such a way that the ‘listener’ could not see the picture which was being described. For the recordings of Dutch L1 and for the native controls 2 and 3 the pictures were presented on a computer screen whereas for the recordings of native control

1 and Swedish L2 the pictures were printed out on paper. The author was the ‘listener’ for

39 With the exception of native control 2 who made her recordings alone.

40 Unfortunately within the limited frame of this paper no comparison between formal and informal language use can be made; it is possible that this would reveal additional similarities/differences, both between Dutch and

Swedish and between the different levels of formality in the two languages.

21

native control 1 and 3 41 as well as for the recordings of Dutch L1 and the second recording of

Swedish L2. For the first recording of Swedish L1, native control 1 was the ‘listener’.

The descriptions were recorded using a digital voice recorder, which was positioned between the two persons. The device is very small, only about 10 cm long and around 3 cm wide and should thus not have been a disturbing element for the descriptions. The number of minutes and seconds recorded for each description is specified in the transcriptions (See

Appendix 2).

The recordings where transcribed by the author, using a basic orthographic transcriptions system where no phonetic information (such as intonation patterns) was marked, but which included hesitations and laughs. Words were mostly transcribed according to the spelling norms of the standard written language, so as to make the structural analysis easier. The transcripts can be found in Appendix 2.

4.4 The method of analysis

After transcribing the data, I coded the material manually, classifying and counting instances of 1) referent introduction and 2) referent maintenance per type (for the different types found, see Section 5), 3) elements in the prefield and finally the 4) occurrences of

spatial/existential constructions of referent introduction. These quantitative breakdowns were carried out for the Swedish L1 data, the Dutch L1 data and the Swedish L2 data. These figures were then compared across languages so as to find patterns (See Chapter 5). Also the figures from the two pictures were compared to each other, so as to see whether the same patterns could be found in both pictures. Moreover the two recordings of Swedish L2 were compared to each other in order to check for potential development.

Section 5.1-5.2 presents the Swedish L1 and Dutch L1 results, the different types of referent introduction and maintenance, prefield elements and spatial vs. existential constructions for referent introduction that were found and how they were classified. The division into spatial and existential constructions builds on the work of Carroll et al (2000); however, for the two languages compared here, I have ordered the constructions found according to the underlying idea of a spatial versus existential perspective concerning referent introduction. Note also that occurrences of negated referents were counted as referent introduction/maintenance. What is of interest in this paper is not how the referents introduced correlate with the actual objects in the pictures; the pictures are only used as stimuli in order

41 Native Control 2 is the author herself.

22

to generate data for referent introduction. With referent I mean any referent which is introduced into the discourse. I do not only mean the objects which are actually present in the two pictures but rather a concept of an object. Referent introduction and maintenance is does not only happen in main declarative clauses; all occurrences (according to above stated definition) have been counted. However, because of the importance of the prefield for the information structure of V2-languages, I chose to investigate the constituents in the prefield as well as referent introductions and maintenances. The syntactic elements in the prefield also partly explain the occurrence of spatial and existential referent introductions; a low number of adverbials in the prefield curtails the possibilities of spatial referent introductions.

4.5 (Dis)advantages/limitations of the data

As the corpus of data collected is very small, the conclusions drawn will be hard to generalise.

They may point in some direction but more research on this topic is necessary in order to be able to state with certainty anything general concerning the information structure and organization of Swedish and Dutch as well as the relation between learner language, the target language and the mother-tongue. The size of the data, however, does allow for qualitative indepth analysis and discussion of the cross-linguistic differences/similarities concerning information-structural patterns and perspectives of referent introduction. However, if major differences are attested and the learner language appears to have been affected by transfer of

L1 patterns thus making it less target-like, more studies are still needed. In general, this language combination, which to my knowledge has not been studied in depth, and the topic in itself requires further research to see whether similar patterns show up in other learners with the same language combination (Dutch/Swedish).

23

5. Results & Analysis

In this chapter the results of the data collection and analysis will be given.

42 The figures for 1)

referent introduction, 2) referent maintenance, 3) syntactic elements (constituents) in the prefield and 4) referent introductions with a spatial vs. existential perspective, will be given for Swedish L1 (Section 5.1), Dutch L1 (Section 5.2) and Swedish L2 (Section 5.3). The chapter concludes with a brief comparison of Swedish L1, Dutch L1 and Swedish L2 (Section

5.4), where the main similarities and differences will be taken up. Special attention will be paid to how the structure of the learner language (interlanguage) for the above mentioned aspects relates to the structure of Dutch L1 and the target language (Swedish); especially with a focus on how target-like the interlanguage is and whether or not non-target-like learner behaviour can be related to information structural patterns of the mother-tongue.

5.1 Swedish L1

In this section the Swedish L1 data will be described, starting with a brief outline of the amount of data collected and continuing with the results for the above mentioned information structural features.

Swedish L1

words main clauses

1678

121

Table 1: Swedish L1: total number of words and main clauses

As can be seen in Table 1, the Swedish L1 data consists of 1678 words distributed across three different speakers each describing two pictures. In Table 2 the number of words per picture can be seen:

Picture 1 Swedish L1

words main clauses

Table 2: Swedish L1 per picture

952

77

Picture 2 Swedish L1

words main clauses

726

44

42 See Section 4 for a description of the process of data collection and analysis.

24

Note that the descriptions of Picture 2 contain 200 words less than those of Picture 1, with an average of 242 words/informant compared to 317 words/informant for Picture 1. The reason for this is unknown. The native control 3 has a lower total of words than the other two, so for every aspect taken up here, her overall figures are lower. Still, her distributional patterns do not differ from the ones of the other native controls.

5.1.1 Referent Introduction

Table 3 shows the number of Referent Introductions in the Swedish L1 data. As one would expect, the majority of the referent introductions are made with an indefinite form, as this is the standard way of introducing new information in Swedish.

Swedish L1

Referent Intro

a. Indef b. Def.

N

204

%

100%

166 81,37%

38 18,63%

Table 3: Swedish L1 Referent Introduction

The following gives an example of a typical referent introduction using an indefinite form in the Swedish data:

(5) i den här bilden är det en person

in this picture is it a person

‘in this picture there is a person’

Table 4 shows the number of Referent Introduction per picture:

Picture 1 Swedish L1

Referent Intro

a. Indef b. Def.

104

85

19

Picture 2 Swedish L1

Referent Intro

a. Indef b. Def.

Table 4: Swedish L1 Referent Introduction per picture

99

80

19

As can be seen above (Table 4), no significant 43 differences exist between the two pictures,

but they both show the same pattern: a small number of definite introductions and a high number or indefinite ones.

43 Note that when the word significantly is used, no reference to statistical significance is made; throughout this paper, due to the small samples of data, no statistical significance tests are used. The tables only serve to give figures in order to detect patterns.

25

Definite referent introduction is exclusively made with objects whose existence is taken for granted in the discourse, i.e. when describing a room it is taken as an obvious fact that a room has walls and a floor. Naturally, there are no occurrences of clauses like det finns ett

golv ‘there is a floor’. Also objects which make up a part of an object already introduced are introduced in definite form, e.g. framhjulet ‘the front wheel’ (of the bike). This type of referent, where existence is ‘known information’, is never introduced by indefinites. For a complete list of referents introduced by a definite, see Appendix 3. The three native controls all show the same pattern.

5.1.2 Referent Maintenance

The following types of referent maintenance were found in the Swedish data:

Swedish L1

Ref Maintenance

a) Indef b) def

demon & NP full NP

c) Pronouns

N %

113 100%

5 4,42%

73 64,60%

14 12,39%

59 52,21%

35 30,98%

Table 5: Swedish L1 Referent Maintenance.

As one can see in Table 5 there is a high number of definite constructions, a fairly high number of pronouns and a very small number of indefinites. This choice of categories needs some further explanation. The category of indefinites is simply a category for indefinite nouns. The category of definite constructions was divided into two types: demonstrative + NP and full NP. In the category of demonstrative + NP, all nouns and NP’s in definite form preceded by a demonstrative (e.g. den här hyllan ‘this shelf’) were put; the other category is for nouns in definite form, e.g. hyllan (the shelf). These were the two types of definite constructions found in the data. As can be seen, the number of full NP’s is more than four times higher than that of demonstratives + NP, which is not surprising as the demonstrative pronouns in

Swedish are used for pointing out objects and are mainly used when the identity of the referent is not clear to the hearer or when the speaker is unsure about what kind of object it is. The category of pronouns was not further divided and consists of personal pronouns (e.g. hon ‘she’, det ‘it’) used for referent maintenance.

There is a very low number of indefinite referent maintenance; this is only to be expected as to use indefinite form again when referring to an object which was recently introduced in the discourse, i.e. when relatively short time has passed since the introduction of the referent, is marked in Swedish. Three out of the five cases occurred in the following two sentences:

26

(6) man förstår ju att det är ett tvättställ eftersom det ska vara ett badrum

one understands of course that it is a sink because it shall be a bathroom

‘one of course understands that it is a sink because it is supposed to be a bathroom’

(7) överkastet är blått om det är ett överkast eller ett täcke

the bedspread is blue if it is a bedspread or a blanket

‘the bedspread is blue, if it is a bedspread or a blanket’

When analysing Referent Maintenance per picture one arrives at the following distribution (Table

6):

Picture 1 Swedish L1

Ref Maintenance

a) Indef b) def

demon & NP full NP

c) Pronouns

72

4

37

10

27

31

Picture 2 Swedish L1

Ref Maintenance

a) Indef b) def

demon & NP full NP

c) Pronouns

Table 6: Swedish L1 Referent Maintenance per picture

41

1

36

4

32

4

The biggest difference between the two pictures can be found in the number of pronouns.

Picture 1 contains a person and this partly accounts for the much higher amount of pronouns, as this person is referred to repeatedly by all the three native controls. The majority of the pronouns in Picture 1 refers to the woman in the picture; 19 of the 31 pronouns used for referent maintenance are used to refer to the woman. I believe that the rest of the difference can be accounted for by the fact that the descriptions of Picture 1 are longer; thus they are more descriptive and refer more repeatedly to the same objects than is the case with the descriptions of Picture 2. This is also the reason for the higher number of demonstrative + NP for Picture 2; demonstratives become more necessary and useful with longer descriptions as they provide an extra strong link back to the referent. Out of the three native controls, two use demonstratives fairly regularly throughout their descriptions. The native control 3 only uses one demonstrative in total. It thus seems as if this use is partly due to individual variation.

This can also be seen of the fact that non-standard forms of demonstratives are used, such as

såna hära ‘this kind of + non-standard plural form’. The following example of a construction with a demonstrative + NP: det är tre hyllor i den här hyllan ‘there are three shelves in this shelf’ would not be considered abnormal if the demonstrative construction den här hyllan

27

would instead be replaced with a simple definite NP as in the following fictive example det är

tre hyllor i hyllan ‘there are three shelves in the shelf’. Similarly, the NP in the following example from native control 2 till höger om fönstret ‘to the right of the window’ could without problem be replaced with a demonstrative + NP: till höger om det här fönstret ‘to the right of this window’. It seems as if demonstrative constructions are in fact optional in most cases where they are used in the descriptions.

Some general comments about referent introduction and maintenance can be made: there is a higher number of introductions than maintenance in these relatively short descriptions. The limited length of the descriptions is due to the nature of the task: ‘simple pictures’ do not need anything else than concise, straight-forward descriptions and so many referents were simply only mentioned once. To generalize, my data shows that referent introductions in Swedish are made with indefinite forms and maintenance with definite forms.

NP’s are used more frequently than a combination of a demonstrative and an NP. Pronouns are also used, but with a much higher frequency when descriptions including a person are made.

5.1.3 Syntactic Elements in the prefield

Analysing the constituents (syntactic elements) in the prefield of the Swedish L1 data yields the following distribution:

Swedish L1

main clauses / declaratives

1. Subjects

a. expletive: 'det' b. pronouns c. full NP's

2. Adverbials

a. time* b. place

3. Objects prefield

121

63 52,06%

30 24,79%

25 20,66%

8 6,61%

57 47,11

6 4,96%

51 42,15%

1 0,83

* Adverbials of time are without exceptions sen så or ‘then’

Table 7: Swedish L1 constituents in the prefield.

28

As shown in Table 7, there are slightly more subjects (52%) than adverbials (47%) in the

prefield, which are very low figures of subjects for Swedish.

44 Half of the subjects are

expletives, which is also a low figure. There are no occurrences of V1-clauses, i.e. clauses

with an empty prefield 45 .

Note that the category of expletives does not include other types of occurrences of det

‘it’, i.e. as deictic/anaphoric reference; these other occurrences of det are of course placed under pronouns. Also note than there is only one object in the prefield. This occurs in the following sentence:

(8) ett hörn skulle man kanske kunna säga

a corner should one perhaps could say

‘a corner one could say’.

The high number of adverbials of place in the prefield can partly be explained by the nature of the task. As the task is to describe the location of objects, many adverbials of place will be expected to occur. If the task would have been to describe a series of events, one would instead expect a high number of adverbials of time. In the data presented here, adverbials of time, exclusively sen or sen så both with then meaning of ‘then’, do occur, but they make up less than 5% of the constituents in the prefield. No other types, such as adverbials of speaker attitude or connectives, are found in the data, which is not surprising as these are usually found in more complex narratives, argumentative and reflective texts and in more formal genres.

The distribution of prefield constituents differs substantially between the two pictures descriptions. As can be seen in Table 8, while subjects strongly predominate in Picture 1, for

Picture 2 adverbials make up the majority of the constituents in the prefield. Native control 3 has a slightly higher amount of subjects for the descriptions of Picture 2; she is the only one to have more subjects than adverbials for this picture.

44 Compare e.g. Bohnacker & Rosén (2009:12, 2007:517), who found 73% subjects in the prefield for informal written Swedish L1 material.

45 Compare Mörnsjö (2002) who found this type of structures in her analysis of spoken Swedish in TV-programs.

29

Picture 1: prefield

1. Subjects a. expletive: 'det' b. pronouns c. full NP's

2. Adverbials a. time* b. place

48

21

21

6

29

4

25

Picture 2: prefield

1. Subjects a. expletive: 'det' b. pronouns c. full NP's

2. Adverbials a. time* b. place

3. Objects 0 3. Objects

* Adverbials of time are without exceptions sen så or “then”

Table 8: Swedish L1: Constituents in the prefield per picture

15

9

4

2

28

2

26

1

The higher number of subjects for Picture 1 46 correlates with the fact that there is a high

number of subject-initial clauses describing the woman in that picture. This type of sentence is completely absent from the descriptions of Picture 2.

5.1.4 Existential / Spatial ways of Referent Introduction

When using an existential construction, or object based perspective, the object (referent) is introduced by first stating its existence. Spatial constructions are constructions where the object is

introduced by reference to its location (adverbials of place).

47 Table 9 shows the distribution of the

Swedish L1 data:

Perspective of Intro: Swedish L1

Existentials

Spatials

99 49,75%

64 32,16%

Non-fitting Cases

Total

36 18,09%

199 100%

Table 9: Swedish L1: Perspective of Referent Introduction

There are almost 50% existential referent introductions and 32% spatial ones and 18% non-fitting cases. The non-fitting cases are cases which did not fit into the dichotomy of spatial/existential; in one way they were treated as if already present in the discourse. It is necessary to give an explanation of the constructions found in the data and how I classified them, using the distinction of

spatial and existential.

48 After that I will show the table of the occurrences per picture.

46 Which, with 62%, is still 11% lower than the 73% found by Bohnacker & Rosén (2007, 2009). However, their data comes from informal letter writing which is different from oral picture descriptions.

47

48

See Section 2.3.1 for a more detailed description and references for further reading.

This division is partly based on the work of Carroll et al (2000) and Carroll & von Stutterheim (1993, 2003) on spatial vs. object based perspective in English, German and Romance languages, see Section 2.3.1 for more on this. However, since these researchers do not discuss Swedish, I have relied on my own knowledge and not an already existing scheme when mapping the Swedish constructions to this classification.

30

Here follows a list of the types of constructions found in the Swedish L1 data, giving an example for each type (the referent introduced in italics). X is in all cases the referent which is introduced, whereas Y stands for a referent already introduced earlier:

A) Existential constructions:

- det finns/är en/ett X ‘there is/are a/an X’:

(9) det är som ett hörn av ett rum

it is as a corner of a room

‘it is like the corner of a room’ 49

- man kan se en/ett X ’one can see a/an X’ or man ser X ’one sees X’:

(10) och så ser man framhjulet

and so sees one the-front-wheel

‘and one sees the front wheel’

- det ser ut som en/ett X ’it looks like a/an X’:

(11) det ser nästan ut som en figur

it looks almost as a figure

’it almost looks like a figure’

- Y har (en/ett) X ’Y has (a/an) X’:

(12) hon har svart hår

she has black hair

‘she has black hair’

- Y med X ’Y with X’: a kind of possessive construction:

(13) en nästan helt ihoprullad lila matta med nån geometrisk form

an almost completely folded purple rug with some geometrical form on

‘an almost completely folded purple rug with some geometrical form’

49 Note that this is a case of definite referent in English but indefinite in Swedish.

31

B) Spatial constructions: Advl (plats) finns/är X ‘Advl (place) is/are X’. These are simply constructions with different locational adverbial expressions:

(14) till höger om fönstret så, äh, är det en hylla, tror jag

to right of the-window so, eh, is it a shelf, think I

‘and to the right of the window, there is a shelf, I think’

(15) på byrån står en kopp

on the-drawer stands a cup

‘on the drawer there is a cup’

C) Non-fitting cases:

- i/på X ‘in/on X’: These were cases were a referent not previously introduced was mentioned as a part of a locational expression, e.g.:

(16) I den här bilden är det en person

in this picture is it a person

‘in this picture there is a person’

- X + def (as subject/object):

(17) hon moppar golvet (18) hänger handduken

she mops the-floor hangs the-towel

‘she mops the floor’ ’the towel hangs’

Many of the non-fitting cases were the same cases as those introduced as definite nouns, i.e. referents whose existence is taken for granted. Thus they are not introduced in the same sense as the indefinite nouns and this is the reason why they don’t fit into a scheme of referent introduction in terms of spatial/existential perspective. As one can see in Table 9, the number of such cases is fairly high (18%); this is something which will be discussed in Section 6.

Dividing the results for the two pictures, one arrives at the following distribution:

Picture 1

Existentials

Spatials

Non-fitting Cases

Total

50

28

24

102

Picture 2

Existentials

Spatials

Non-fitting Cases

Total

49

36

12

97

32

Table 10: Swedish L1: Perspective of Referent Introduction per picture

Note the much higher figure for spatial constructions in Picture 2. This is at least partially linked with the higher number of adverbials in the prefield for that picture (38% for Picture 1 compared to

64% for Picture 2). There are also fewer non-fitting cases in Picture 2; something which may or may not be related to the more exclusive usage of the spatial perspective for referent introduction. One could imagine that this relates to the content of the picture but a larger amount of data is needed to confirm this speculation.

5.2 Dutch L1

In this section the Dutch L1 data will be described, starting with a brief outline of the amount of data collected, continuing with the results for the above mentioned information structural features.

Dutch L1

words main clauses

476

43

Table 11: Dutch L1: Total number of words and main clauses

As can be seen above, the data for Dutch L1 consists of 476 words, divided into two descriptions made by the same speaker. There are 43 main clauses. The data is all from one native speaker,

namely the learner of Swedish L2. Due to the fairly small set of data

50

and the specific task, the

conclusions drawn below cannot be generalized, but I believe the data to be sufficient to be indicative of patterns concerning the information structural features under investigation. Divided into the two descriptions, the following result is seen:

Picture 1

words main clauses

Table 12: Dutch L1 per picture

140

15

Picture 2

words main clauses

336

28

Note that the number of words and clauses for description 1 is substantially lower than that of description 2; this naturally makes the overall, raw figures for that picture lower. However, the cause of this is unknown and not of relevance to this study.

50 Around 1200 words lower than that of the Swedish L1 data.

33

5.2.1 Referent Introduction

In Table 13 the occurrences of referent introduction divided into indefinite and definite can be seen:

Dutch L1

Referent Intro

a. Indef b. Def.

N %

72 100%

65 90,27%

7 9,73%

Table 13: Dutch L1: Referent Introduction

As was the case with the Swedish data, the Dutch L1 referent introductions are mainly made with the indefinite form. In fact, the trend seems even stronger in Dutch. Those introduced with definite form are, just as in the Swedish material, things whose existence (and even position) is taken for granted.

The following shows an example of such a typical case:

(19) er staat een laptop op het bed

there stands a laptop on the bed

‘there is a laptop on the bed’

When dividing the results by picture, this results in Table 14:

Picture 1 Dutch L1

Referent Intro

a. Indef b. Def.

27

23

4

Picture 2 Dutch L1

Referent Intro

a. Indef b. Def.

Table 14: Dutch L1: Referent Introduction per picture

45

42

3

One can see that it is very similar for the two pictures, with only a few cases of definite referent introduction per picture. These referents are objects such as de muur ‘the wall’ and de vloer ‘the floor’. The following sentence shows the first occurrence of muur:

(20) er hangen wenig andere dingen aan de muur

there hangs few other things at the wall

‘there are few other things hanging at the wall’

5.2.2 Referent Maintenance

Table 15 below gives the numbers for the Dutch L1 cases of Referent Maintenance:

34

Dutch L1

Ref Maintenance

a) Indef b) def

demon & NP full NP

c) Pronouns

pronominal adverbs other pronouns

N %

38 100%

3 7,89%

15 39,48%

0 0%

15 39,48%

20 52,63%

3 7,89%

17 44,74%

Table 15: Dutch L1: Referent Maintenance.

For the definite category, there are only full NP’s and no cases of a demonstrative combined with an

NP/noun in Dutch. More than half of the cases of maintenance are pronouns out of which only 3 are pronominal adverbs. The following is an example of a construction with a pronominal adverb:

(21) er is een kleine kast, erop staat een kop koffie

there is a small cupboard, there-on stands a cup coffee

‘there is a small cupboard, on top of it there is a cup of coffee’

The category of ‘other pronouns’ is simply personal and relative pronouns, such as zij ‘she’, die

‘which’.

There are only 3 cases of indefinite referent maintenance. Out of these 3, one case is wat water

‘some water’, which is not so surprising considering the nature of the item; it is a mass noun

describing a substance and these have a more indefinite character.

51

The other two are both found in

the following passage:

(22) Ik ben niet zeker of het een jongeskamer of meisjeskamer is, ik denk een jongeskamer.

I am not sure if it a boy’s room or girl’s room is, I think a boy’s room

Er hangen wenig andere dingen aan de muur, geen tekening, geen schilderijen, geen fotos,

there hang few other things on the wall no drawing no paintings no photos

dus daarom denk ik dat het een jongeskamer is.

thus therefore think I that it a boy’s room is

‘I’m not sure if it is a boy’s room or a girl’s room. Few other things are hanging on the wall,

no picture, no paintings, and no photos so therefore I think it is a boy’s room.’

51 Why this is, is a question more for the semanticist and need not concern us here.

35

These sentences provide a non-traditional case of maintenance, one could say, as the context and structure is so that it requires an indefinite form. Dividing the total results into the two descriptions, one arrives at the following distribution:

Picture 1 Dutch L1

Ref Maintenance

a) Indef b) def

demon & NP full NP

c) Pronouns

pronominal adverbs other

11

1

2

0

2

8

0

8

Picture 2 Dutch L1

Ref Maintenance

a) Indef b) def

demon & NP full NP

c) Pronouns

pronominal adverbs other

Table 16: Dutch L1: Referent Maintenance per picture

13

12

3

9

26

2

13

0

Interestingly the Dutch description of the picture without a person (Picture 2), contrary to the

Swedish data, contains more pronouns than the other, counted in raw figures. This is due to the high use of relative pronoun die ‘which’ for referent maintenance in the description of Picture 2. Still, when looking at percentages, the description of Picture 1 has, in addition to containing less than half the amount of maintenance compared to the description of Picture 2, a very high percentage of pronouns; in fact 8 out of 11 cases of maintenance are pronouns. These pronouns are, in opposition to those of the description of Picture 2, personal ones: in fact, there are 7 occurrences of zij/ze ‘she’.

A longer description, as is the case with the one of Picture 2 of course gives more occasions for referent maintenance.

Some general comments about referent introduction and maintenance of Dutch are in order here: there is a higher number of introductions than maintenance, especially notable for description

1; this is related to the limited length of the descriptions due to the nature of the task that only required a concise, straight-forward description; many referents were simply mentioned once. My data shows that referent introductions are made with indefinite forms and maintenance with definite forms in Dutch with an even higher frequency than in Swedish; the difference is that of 9%. There are no cases of the combination of demonstratives and NP’s in Dutch L1; rather pronouns and full

NP’s are used.

5.2.3 Syntactic Elements in the prefield

Table 17 shows the distribution of constituents in the prefield for the Dutch L1 data:

36

Dutch L1

main clauses / declaratives

1. Subjects

a. expletive: 'het/er' b. pronouns c. full NP's

2. Adverbials

a. time* b. place c. pronominal advl

3. Objects prefield

43

34 79%

11 25,58%

14 32,56%

9 20,93%

9 21%

3 6,98%

5 11,63%

1 2,32%

0 0,00%

* adverbials of time are in all cases verder “further on”

Table 17: Dutch L1: Constituents in the prefield

Note the high amount of subjects (79%) in the prefield in the table above. Even when considering the relatively low number of sentences in the Dutch L1 data, the difference compared to Swedish L1, which has just slightly more subjects than adverbials, is substantial. Around 26% of all prefield constituents in the Dutch L1 data consists of expletives. However, the biggest category is that of pronouns (33%). All the pronouns in this category are personal ones, consisting mostly of ik ‘I’ and

zij/ze ‘she’.

Only one pronominal adverbial occurred in the prefield and only 3 adverbials of time and 5 adverbials of place. No other adverbials were found. There were no objects. When looking at the results per picture the following table is derived:

Picture 1

1. Subjects

a. expletive: 'het/er' b. pronouns c. full NP's

2. Adverbials

a. time* b. place c. pronominal advl

11

3

7

1

4

1

3

0

Picture 2

1. Subjects

a. expletive: 'het/er' b. pronouns c. full NP's

2. Adverbials

a. time* b. place c. pronominal advl

3. Objects

0

3. Objects

Table 18: Dutch L1: Constituents in the prefield per picture

2

1

5

2

23

8

7

8

0

As one can see in table 18, the number of subjects is proportionally higher in the description of the second picture. Many clauses begin with either an expletive or a pronoun but a third of

37

the subjects are full NP’s; this is in contrast with the description of the first picture where there are no full NP’s present in the prefield. Almost half of the constituents in the prefields of description 1 are pronouns. Why there are these differences is not a question I can answer here and from my perspective this is also not relevant for the present study as the focus here is on differences between Swedish L1, Dutch L1 and Swedish L2.

5.2.4 Existential / Spatial ways of Referent Introduction

When using an existential construction the object (referent) is introduced by first stating its existence. Spatial constructions are constructions where the object is introduced by reference to its location (adverbials of place). The following table shows the distribution in the Dutch L1 data:

Perspective of Intro: Dutch L1

Existentials 47 73,44%

Spatials

Non-fitting Cases

Total

7 10,94%

10 15,62%

64 100%

Table 19: Dutch L1: Perspectives of Referent Introduction

There are around 73% existential referent introductions and 11% spatial ones and 16% non-fitting cases. Just as was the case for Swedish, the non-fitting cases are cases which did not fit into the dichotomy of spatial/existential; in one way they were treated as if already present in the discourse.

The amount of existential constructions for referent introduction in the Dutch L1 (73%) data was, compared to that of the Swedish L1 data (50%), very high. This is, of course, linked to the low number of adverbials in the prefield, so it is not a surprising result. There is a higher number of nonfitting cases than of cases where referent introduction was made with a spatial construction.

It is necessary to give an explanation of the constructions found in the data and how I classified

them, using the distinction of spatial and existential.

52 After that I will show the distribution per

picture. Below follows a list of the types of constructions found in the Dutch L1 data, giving an example for each type (the referent introduced in italics). X is in all cases the referent which is introduced, whereas Y stands for a referent already introduced earlier:

A) Existential constructions:

- er is/zijn/staat/ligt X ‘there is/are/stands/lies X’:

52

When mapping the Dutch constructions on this division I have used my own knowledge and not an already existing scheme.

38

Note that even though these are clear examples of an existential type introduction, the spatial aspect, i.e. the location of the referent, is often mentioned later in the clause, as is the case in

(23) below:

(23) er staat een laptop op het bed (24) er is geen dusch

there stands a laptop on the bed there is no shower

‘there is a laptop on top of the bed/ ‘there is no shower’

a laptop is standing on the bed’

- ik zie X ‘I see X’:

(25) ik zie een poster

I see a poster

‘I see a poster’

- Y heeft X ‘Y has X’:

(26) zij heeft een dweil in haar hand’

she has a mop in her hand

‘she has a mop in her hand’

- Y met X ‘Y with X’; a kind of possessive construction:

(27) een emmer met water(28) een kast met lades

a bucket with water a cupboard with drawers

‘a bucket of water’ ‘a cupboard with drawers’

B) Spatial constructions:

- Advl (plaats) is/zijn X ‘Advl (place) is/are X’. These are simply constructions with different locational adverbial expressions:

(29) In de kamer is een vrouw

in the room is a woman

‘A woman is in the room/

(30) Aan de muur hangt een spiegel

on the wall hangs a mirror

‘A mirror is hanging on the wall/

39

in the room there is a woman’

‘there is a mirror hanging on the wall’

C) Non-fitting cases:

- cases of in/aan/op X ‘in/at/on X’ (X has not previously been mentioned):

53

(31) in de kamer

in the room

‘in the room’

(32) aan de muur

on the wall

‘at the wall’

As can be seen in (31) and (32) many of these were the same cases as those which were introduced in definite form, just as for Swedish L1, i.e. kamer ‘room’ and muur ‘wall’ are not introduced in any other way than as parts of the prepositional expressions above. These are objects whose existence in the discourse and for the hearer is taken for granted by the speaker.

Table 20 shows the distribution for the two pictures:

Picture 1

Existentials

Spatials non-fitting Cases

Total

16

4

5

25

Picture 2

Existentials

Spatials non-fitting Cases

Total

Table 20: Dutch L1: Perspectives of Referent Introduction per picture

31

3

5

39

Notable is that the second description, which has a higher raw figure of introductions, has an even higher rate of existential constructions; 79% compared to 64%. The number of spatial constructions as well as that of non-fitting cases is fairly constant across the two descriptions.

With longer descriptions and a higher number of referent introduction there seems to just be an increase in the number of existential introductions. From the figures here, it seems that existential constructions are the standard in this kind of descriptions in Dutch. However, because this is only data from one speaker it is possible that it is partly a personal trait.

5.3 Swedish L2

This section describes the Swedish L2 data. As the learner was recorded twice 54 describing the

same two pictures, the result will be presented both collapsed and separately for the two

53 Note the problems with finding true spatial equivalent constructions in English; see Carroll et al (2000),

Carroll & von Stutterheim (1993, 2003) for more on the perspective of referent introduction in English.

54 With approximately one month between the two recordings. See section 4.4 for details.

40

recordings and any bigger differences between the two recordings will be commented on.

Table 21 below summarizes the Swedish L2 data, which consists of 747 words and 81 main clauses.

Swedish L2

words main clauses

Table 21: Swedish L2

747

81

When splitting the data up into the two pictures, one gets the following table:

Picture 1

words main clauses

Table 22: Swedish L2 per picture

288

29

Picture 2

words main clauses

459

52

The two descriptions of Picture 2 together are 171 words longer than those of Picture 1. This naturally makes the number of main clauses higher as well as making the raw figures for description 1 lower. Splitting the data into the two recordings one gets the following table:

Swedish L2 Rec 1

words main clauses

Table 23: Swedish L2 per recording

322

31

Swedish L2 Rec 2

words main clauses

425

50

The second recording is 103 words longer than the first. This may be due to the learner’s

familiarity with the pictures or possibly due to the change of interlocutor.

55 Many details were

repeated in the two recordings; however, the learner did not phrase himself the same way for the two recordings, but just took up approximately the same details, which then were somewhat expanded on in the second recording.

Some general comments concerning the learner data seem necessary. First, the learner

data shows a high degree of formal accuracy.

56 However, one non-target aspect is most

notable and important for the present study concerns the indefinite/definite forms and is thus of relevance to referent introduction and maintenance. This is the learner’s overextension of

55 The two recordings were made with different interlocutors. For the second recording, the author herself was the interlocutor.

56

There is only one occasion of a non-target-like X-S-V-O structure where the correct would be X-V-S-O; probably due to the influence of English.

41

the pronominal indefinite article en ‘a/an’ of the Swedish common gender (utrum/reale, also called en-genus or n-genus) to nouns belonging to the neuter (neutrum, also called ett-genus or t-genus), thus treating Swedish indefinite nouns as one category when using the indefinite

article.

57 By contrast, he uses the definite suffix, -en for common gender and -et for neuter,

correctly, e.g. in the following:

(33) hon arbetar i rummet

she works in the-room

’she works in the room’

This leads me to believe that the learner has in fact acquired the gender distinction of

Swedish. However, in his native tongue, which just as Swedish has two grammatical genders,

i.e. neuter and common gender 58 , the morphological form of the indefinite article in Dutch is

the same for both genders, namely een ‘a/an’. I therefore believe that his overgeneralization of the Swedish indefinite article en is due to transfer from the mother-tongue. Note also the extreme similarity in morphological and phonological form between Dutch een and Swedish

en; there is a slight difference in vowel length and quality, but except for that the words are identical. Common gender nouns are also more frequent in Swedish and thus the learner perhaps has not had enough input of the neuter indefinite article (ett) yet to change the pattern transferred from his mother-tongue. There is, however, some indication that the learner is on his way to acquiring this distinction between the indefinite articles of the different genders of

Swedish: when describing the second picture in the second recording, he uses the indefinite article ett twice with the noun (sov)rum ‘(bed)room’ which is a neuter word. There is no oneto-one relationship between the Swedish and Dutch genders, but the learner has clearly acquired the Swedish gender of those words used in definite form.

5.3.1 Referent Introduction

The Swedish L2 data contains 112 cases of referent introduction divided in the following way:

57 An exception being the word (sov)rum ‘(bed) room’ which is used correctly twice with the neuter indefinite article in the description of picture 2 of the second recording.

58 onzijdig (het-worden) and commuun genus (zijdig, de-worden); the definite articles are het and de respectively.

42

Swedish L2

Referent Intro

a. Indef b. Def.

N

112

%

100%

97 86,61%

15 13,39%

Table 24: Swedish L2: Referent Introduction

As can be seen above, this pattern is very similar to that of Swedish L1 and Dutch L1; slightly higher figures of definite constructions than Dutch L1 and slightly lower than those of

Swedish L1. The results for each picture are the following:

Picture 1 Swedish L2

Reference Intro

a. Indef b. Def.

47

38

9

Picture 2 Swedish L2

Reference Intro

a. Indef b. Def.

Table 25: Swedish L2: Referent Introduction per picture

65

59

6

The number of definite constructions used for referent introduction in the description of picture 1 is higher than that of description 2 (19% compared to 9%), but I believe this is partly due to the fact that there is a number of referents whose existence can be seen as pre-supposed knowledge of the hearer and which can thus be introduced with a definite form (e.g. there are the walls, the ceiling, the floor etc.); thus the overall number of introductions is not completely related to the number of possible definite introductions. The number of referents whose existence is pre-supposed is related to the context of the description, in this case to the pictures used. As there are in fact two recordings of each description it means there are 4,5 definite constructions per picture for description 1 and 3 for description 2. Dividing the data instead into the two recordings, one sees that there is an average of 2,5 definites per picture for recording 1 and 5 definite constructions per picture for recording 2. This seems to point to the idea of a limited number of definite constructions ‘available’ for usage in the context of these pictures; these being for such room descriptions walls, floor and parts of other already introduced referents. Most referents, however, can only be introduced in indefinite form.

Swedish L2 Rec 1

Reference Intro

a. Indef b. Def.

N

45

40

5

%

100%

89%

11%

Swedish L2 Rec 2

Referent Intro

a. Indef b. Def.

Table 26: Swedish L2: Referent Introduction per recording

N

67

57

10

%

100%

85%

15%

43

There is a higher number of referent introductions in the descriptions of recording 2 as those are longer. The percentages of recording 1 are almost exactly the same as for Dutch L1 whereas the percentages for recording 2 are halfway between the figures for Dutch L1 and

Swedish L1. As it is fairly unlikely that the learner language has developed so much in the direction of the target-language during one month, and as the differences are in fact very small, I believe that these differences are due to normal variances at different occasions. This is a very stable area of the language, and it is unlikely that patterns would change during any shorter time period.

5.3.2 Referent Maintenance

The table below divides the cases of referent maintenance for the Swedish L2 data into different categories:

Swedish L2

Ref Maintenance

a) Indef b) def

demon & NP

Full NP

c) Pronouns

N

46

%

100%

4 8,70%

21 45,65%

0 0%

21 45,65%

21 45,65%

Table 27: Swedish L2: Referent Maintenance

As can be seen above, there are only 4 cases of indefinite maintenance, a very low number.

Out of these, two occur in the following sentences:

59

(34) och det finns en toalett, som jag sa (35) jag tror att det är en spegel

and it exists a toilet as I said I believe that it is a mirror

‘and there is a toilet , as I said’ ‘I believe it is a mirror’

Example (34) is a case where the referent was introduced in the beginning, some time has elapsed and therefore a ‘maintenance’ is made with an indefinite - the learner cannot be sure that the existence of the referent is still known (i.e. remembered) by the hearer; i.e. a reintroduction is made. Example (35) is similar to the Swedish example in section 5.1.2 above;

59 For the full list, see Appendix 3.

44

the exact identity of the referent is not clear and the speaker therefore adds a clause about his/her opinion, whereby the referent is in fact maintained but in the indefinite form.

There is an equal number of pronouns and full NP’s in the L2 Swedish data. Just as was the case for Dutch, there are no combinations of a demonstrative and a NP, whereas this occurs fairly regularly in native Swedish. However, when looking at the Swedish L2, it does not seem to be the case that these constructions are ‘lacking’, i.e. as a native speaker one does not feel that there should have been any demonstratives. Demonstratives are not necessary in these simple descriptions but seem to be optional and used more in Swedish L1 than in Dutch

L1 and Swedish L2. As only two out of the three native Swedish controls uses demonstratives with any higher frequency, the conclusion is that there must be some individual variation in Swedish. This will be further discussed in Section 6. Below the division of the results per picture can be seen:

Picture 1 Swedish L2

Ref Maintenance

a) Indef b) def

demon & NP full NP

c) Pronouns

24

3

5

0

5

16

Table 28: Swedish L2: Referent Maintenance per picture

Picture 2 Swedish L2

Ref Maintenance

a) Indef b) def

demon & NP full NP

c) Pronouns

22

1

16

0

16

5

Even though the descriptions of Picture 2 were longer, there is a comparable number of maintenance for both pictures. Out of the 16 pronouns for description 1, there are 13 occurrences of hon ‘she’. The 5 pronouns in description 2 are all den/det ‘it’. Note that the number of pronouns is much lower for picture 2. This is similar to the results for Swedish L1 and differs from those for Dutch L1. This is probably due to the fact that in Dutch the relative pronouns die ‘which’ is used frequently in Picture 2. Informal Swedish rarely employs corresponding relative pronouns matched for gender and numbrt (vilken/-et/-a). In my data,

vilken/-et/-a is not found at all only the general relative clause opener som which has not been counted as a relative pronoun in this study. In the learner data, there are more occurrences of indefinite forms for maintenance in description 1 but the raw figures are still very low for both pictures. Table 29 gives the figures for the two recordings:

45

Swedish L2 Rec 1

Ref Maintenance

a) Indef b) def

demon & NP full NP

c) Pronouns

N

14

%

100%

3 21,43%

7 50%

0

7

0%

50%

4 28,57%

Swedish L2 Rec 2

Ref Maintenance

a) Indef b) def

demon & NP full NP

c) Pronouns

Table 29: Swedish L2: Referent Maintenance per recording

N

32

%

100%

1 3,13%

14 43,75%

0 0%

14 43,75%

17 53,12%

There are more occurrences of maintenance in recording 2. This is only natural as the descriptions in recording 2 are longer. The occurrence of pronouns is notably higher for the second recording, compared to the figures of full NP’s. The percentage of indefinite forms in the first recording looks high. However, this is only due to the low total figure of maintenance; it is in fact only 3 occurrences.

All the 4 pronouns in the first recording occur in the first description and are all occurrences of hon ‘she’. Note that in the second recording den ‘it’ is used repeatedly. It is possible that the learner has fully integrated the use of this word in the time between the two recordings or that the use of den is due to the familiarity with the pictures. Recording 2 is generally more elaborate and longer so it is not a surprise that this also results in a greater diversity of forms used for referent maintenance.

5.3.3 Syntactic Elements in the prefield

Table 30 shows the distribution of constituents in the prefield of the Swedish L2 data:

Swedish L2

main clauses / declaratives

1. Subjects

a. expletive: 'het/er' b. pronouns c. full NP's

2. Adverbials

a. time* b. place c. modal

3. Objects prefield

81

63 77,78%

24 29,63%

38 46,92%

1 1,23%

18 22,22%

7 8,64%

9 11,11%

2 2,47%

0 0,00%

* Adverbials of time are without exceptions sen ‘then’

Table 30: Swedish L2: Constituents in the prefield

46

As can be seen above there is a high percentage of subjects in the prefields of the Swedish L2 data; almost 78% are subjects, compared to only 22% adverbials, which is very similar to the results for Dutch L1 and notably different from Swedish L1. Still there are quite a few adverbial-initial clauses. In addition to temporal and spatial adverbials there are also two cases of modal adverbials. These are two occurrences of the modal adverb möjligtvis

‘possibly’ functioning as an adverbial. They both occur in the description of picture 2 in the second recording. There are no objects.

Only the following pronouns are attested in the data: jag ‘I’, hon ‘she’ and den ‘it’. Out of the 38 pronouns found, 23 are cases of jag, 9 hon and 6 den. Hon only occurs in the descriptions of picture 1 and all 6 den occur in the second recording. Table 31 shows the distribution for the two pictures.

Picture 1

1. Subjects

a. expletive: 'det' b. pronouns c. full NP's

2. Adverbials

a. time* b. place c. modal

24

5

19

0

2

0

5

3

Picture 2

1. Subjects

a. expletive: 'det' b. pronouns c. full NP's

2. Adverbials

a. time* b. place c. modal

3. Objects

0

3. Objects

* Adverbials of time are without exceptions sen ‘then’

Table 31: Swedish L2: Constituents in the prefield per picture

13

4

7

2

0

39

19

19

1

There is a higher percentage of clause-initial adverbials for the second picture, 25% compared to 17%. It is hard, though, to say why this is the case. The data set is not that extensive so it is possible that this is just normal differences occurring in learner language.

The picture becomes more interesting when looking at the distribution of constituents divided into the two recordings. Table 32 below shows that distribution:

47

Swedish L2 Rec 1 prefield

main clauses / declaratives 31

1. Subjects

a. expletive: 'het/er' b. pronouns c. full NP's

2. Adverbials

a. time* b. place c. modals

27 87,10%

10 32,26%

17 54,84%

0 0,00%

3

0

4 12,90%

1 3,26%

9,64%

0%

Swedish L2 Rec 2 prefield

main clauses / declaratives 50

1. Subjects

a. expletive: 'het/er' b. pronouns c. full NP's

2. Adverbials

a. time* b. place c. modal

36

14

21

1

14

6

6

2

0 3. Objects 0

* Adverbials of time are without exceptions sen ‘then’

0% 3. Objects

Table 32: Swedish L2: Constituents in the prefield per recording

72%

28%

42%

2%

28%

12%

12%

4%

0%

As can be seen in Table 32, there is a notable difference between the two recordings when looking at the constituents in the prefield. The number or adverbials in the prefield is only around 13% for the first recording but 28% for the second; i.e. the percentage of adverbials more than doubles. The question is which one of the two that is really representative of the learner’s interlanguage at large. Maybe the distribution is very uneven and this in itself is a feature of the interlanguage. Or is it possible that there is such a big change in the interlanguage just in one month? Or did the learner perceive the task in a different way the second time? In section 5.4.3 and section 6 this will be further discussed. As for now, it is enough just to note this large difference.

5.3.4 Existential / Spatial ways of Referent Introduction

When using an existential construction, the object (referent) is introduced by first stating its existence. Spatial constructions are constructions where the object is introduced by reference to its location (adverbials of place). The following table shows the distribution of the Swedish

L2 data:

Perspective of Intro: Swedish L2

Existentials

Spatials

88

12

78,56%

10,72%

Non-fitting cases

Total

12 10,72%

112 100%

Table 33: Swedish L2: Perspective of Referent Introduction

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The L2 learner makes most of the referent introductions with an existential structure. There is an equal number of spatial constructions and non-fitting cases. Note that the amount of spatial constructions here is the same as that of Dutch L1, whereas the percentage of non-fitting cases is lower and the number or existential constructions is higher.

In order to analyse the results further, one needs to specify how the different constructions found were classified. Here follows a list of the types of constructions found in the Swedish L2 data, giving an example for each type (referent in italics). X is in all cases the referent which is introduced, whereas Y stands for a referent already introduced earlier:

A) Existential constructions:

- det är/finns/står/ligger X ‘there is/are/stands/lies X’:

(36) det finns en säng

it exists a bed

’there is a bed’

- Y har (en/ett) X ’Y has (a/an) X:

(37) det står en påse på golvet 60

it stands a bag on the floor

‘there is a bag on the floor’

(38) hon har en mopp

she has a mop

‘she has a mop’

- Y med X ‘Y with X’: a kind of possessive construction:

(39) anslagstavla med några saker

notice board with some things on

‘a notice board with a couple of things’

B) Spatial constructions:

- Advl (plats) är/finns X ‘Advl (place) is/are X’. These are simply constructions with different location adverbial expressions:

60 Note that these constructions with the structure of Expl + V + logical S + Advl (location) are fairly common in the learner language as well as in Dutch L1 and Swedish L1. The location is mentioned in the existential constructions; thus they are not only simple statements of existence.

49

(40) I rummet finns det en toalett

in the room is it a toilet

‘in the room there is a toilet’

C) Non-fitting cases:

- i/på X ‘in/on X’: These were cases where a referent not previously introduced was mentioned as a part of an locational expression, e.g.:

(41) hon moppar på golvet (42) på den andra väggen

she mops on the-floor on the second wall

‘she is mopping on the floor’ ‘at the second wall’

- X + def (as object):

(43) för att tvätta händerna

61

for to wash the-hands

‘for washing hands’

Table 34 gives the figures for the Swedish L2 data divided into the two pictures:

Picture 1

Existentials

Spatials non-fitting Cases

Total

38

2

7

47

Picture 2

Existentials

Spatials non-fitting Cases

Total

Table 34: Swedish L2: Perspective of Referent Introduction per picture

50

10

5

65

Only 4% of the referent introductions in the descriptions of picture 1 are spatial constructions compared to 15% in the descriptions of picture 2. This is a fairly large difference. The overall number of occurrences of spatial introductions is low, which is not surprising considering the low number of adverbials in the prefield. Even though not all referents are introduced in main clauses still this partly explains the low figures for spatial constructions. For the first description the number or non-fitting cases exceeds that of the spatial introductions. When instead dividing the data for the two recordings the following result is derived:

61

Note that this is a fixed expression which requires the definite form in Swedish; this means it could have been learned as a chunk.

50

Perspective of Intro: Swedish L2 Rec 1

Existentials

Spatials

36

5

80%

11% non-fitting Cases

Total

4

45

9%

100%

Perspective of Intro: Swedish L2 Rec 2

Existentials

Spatials

52

7

77,61%

10,45% non-fitting Cases

Total

8 11,94%

67 100%

Table 35: Swedish L2: Perspective of Referent Introduction per recording

The pattern is very similar for both recordings. The amount of existential constructions is slightly lower for the second recording. However, the number of spatial constructions is not higher. Rather, there is an increase in the number of non-fitting cases, something which is similar to the pattern of Dutch L1 as well as Swedish L1; both have a relatively high percentage of non-fitting cases. It is not surprising that the two recordings show similarities; one cannot expect a basic thing such as perspective of referent introduction to change after only one month.

5.4 Summary and brief comparison

In this section a brief comparison will be made pointing out the (most important) differences and similarities between Swedish L1, Dutch L1 and Swedish L2 as evinced by the figures presented in 5.1-5.3. The focus of the comparison will be on whether or not the learner language follows the information structural patterns/tendencies found for the Swedish L2 data or if not, whether the learner follows the preferences of his mother tongue or seems to hold preferences which differ from both Swedish L1 and Dutch L1.

5.4.1 Referent Introduction

For referent introduction the following patterns of indefinite/definite forms are found: for

Dutch L1: 90%/10%, Swedish L1 82%/18% and for Swedish L2 87%/13%. Thus for all three varieties, there is the same trend; referents are introduced mainly by using indefinite forms.

Those introduced with a definite form are objects whose existence is taken for granted and they are mainly the same objects in all the three categories of language varieties. The learner language does not show any differences from the target-language in this respect.

51

5.4.2 Referent Maintenance

In all three languages/varieties, hardly any cases of indefinite referent maintenance are found.

Referent maintenance is instead done with definite forms. The distribution of definite forms/pronouns looks as follows: For Swedish L1: 64%/31%, for Dutch L1: 39%/52% and for

Swedish L2 46%/46%. Note the fairly large difference between Swedish L1 and L2; the amount of pronouns is ‘too high’ in the learner language as compared to the target language.

However, when comparing the results of Swedish L2 and Dutch L1, the learner language shows a pattern which is in between that of Dutch L1 and Swedish L1, though slightly closer, when comparing percentages, to the Dutch L1 pattern. The Swedish L1 definite forms consist of constructions with a demonstrative + NP (12%) as well as only NP’s (52%). In the Dutch

L1 data and the Swedish L2 data, no cases of demonstrative + NP have been found. It seems that either the learner has not yet acquired these demonstrative forms or he follows the expected pattern of his native tongue. I believe the second to be the case but the data is uninformative concerning this conclusion. Dutch demonstrative pronouns may be stronger than Swedish ones and therefore used more seldom in descriptions such as the ones collected here.

5.4.3 Syntactic elements in the prefield

In all three languages/varieties, objects are rare to non-existent in the prefield, with only 1 object found in the Swedish L1 data and no objects found in the Dutch L1 and Swedish L2 data. When comparing the distribution of subjects/adverbials it looks as follows. For Swedish

L1: 52%/47%, for Dutch L1: 79%/21% and for Swedish L2: 78%/ 22%. Considering the fact that Swedish and Dutch have the same syntactic possibilities of placing other constituents than subjects in the prefield, it is surprising to see that they differ so much in this respect.

Whereas Swedish L1 has almost 50/50 of subjects/adverbials for this task and genre, there is a much stronger tendency for both Dutch L1 and Swedish L2 to place a subject in the prefield, and Swedish L2 does not differ substantially from Dutch L1. From this, it emerges that the learner has yet to master this aspect of Swedish information structure. The clauseinitial adverbials in all three language varieties are temporal and locative ones, except for 2 modal adverbials, which surprisingly are not found in the recordings of native speech but in the Swedish L2 data.

52

5.4.4 Existential / Spatial perspective of Referent Introduction

When looking at the perspective of referent introduction the following figures of existential/spatial/non-fitting cases of referent introduction are arrived at. For Swedish L1:

50%/32%/18%, for Dutch L1: 73%/11%/16% and for Swedish L2: 78%/11%/11%. Swedish

L1 has substantially more cases of spatial referent introduction, almost three times as many as

Dutch L1/Swedish L2. The patterns of Dutch L1 and Swedish L2 are very similar, except for the fact that Dutch L1 has more non-fitting cases and Swedish L2 has more existentials.

Note that constructions with the structure of Expl + V + logical S + Advl (location) are fairly common in the existential constructions of the learner language as well as of Dutch L1 and Swedish L1. The location thus, is mentioned in the existential constructions; they are not only simple statements of existence.

6. Discussion

In this chapter the results from Chapter 5 together with some of the studies mentioned in

Chapter 2 as well as some reflections I have had whilst working with this study will be discussed. After a short introduction concerning the nature of the conclusions that can be drawn from the present study, the discussion is divided into three main subsections. The first subsection discusses the learner’s patterns in comparison with the patterns of Swedish L1 and

Dutch L1, i.e. this section provides a discussion solely based on the results of the present study. The second briefly makes some suggestions concerning the consequences of this for language teaching and in the third, the results will be compared to other studies/theories and some problematic and interesting implications that my results may have for other studies/theories will be discussed.

In this discussion I do not intend to take up questions regarding possible explanations for why Dutch and Swedish differ with respect to the researched features of information structure; as my data is very small and finding causes is something very tricky, this would be premature and too complex for such a small study. Instead I will discuss some questions/topics that came to my attention when working with the project. The focus will be on the learner language in comparison with the target language and with the native language of the learner. What is interesting is not so much that Dutch L1 differs from Swedish L1 in

53

the researched area of information structure; after all, this is no surprise – languages differ in many respects. When there are differences concerning morphology and syntax, one would hardly expect information structure to necessarily be the same, even though such claims may have been made earlier; what needs attention is rather the fact that the learner has not completely mastered these target language features.

6.1 The learner language, Dutch L1 and Swedish L1: Internal comparisons

In this section some points that have emerged from the comparison between the learner language (Swedish L2) and Swedish L1 and Dutch L1 will be discussed.

6.1.1 ‘Mastery’ of the indefinite/ definite divide

In my data indefinite nouns phrases are used to introduce new discourse referents whereas anaphoric expressions (e.g. personal and deictic pronouns) and definite forms are used to

‘pick up’ discourse referents, i.e. for referent maintenance (see Chapter 5). This pattern is the same for Dutch L1 and Swedish L1 as well as for the learner language (Swedish L2) and is

similar to Karttunen’s (1969) account 62 as well as to the results of Ehrich & Koster (1983).

63

Speakers seem to have the same ideas about which knowledge can be presupposed for picture descriptions of rooms in Dutch and Swedish, as no differences could be detected for the type of words that are introduced with definites in Swedish L1, Dutch L1 and Swedish L2. It so happens that both Dutch and Swedish encode indefiniteness and definiteness and the form/function pairings in the two languages are similar in this regard. An interesting question raised by these results concerns the reason for the similarities. Is this something linked to the fact that the languages are closely related or is it a matter of having similar cultural presuppositions about the objects of rooms? Or are linguistic and cultural aspects so intertwined that it is impossible to say what is what? However, these questions are too complex to be answered in the limited frame of this paper. Still, the interaction between language and culture is something to bear in mind for future studies of closely related languages, especially when looking at the Germanic ones, as the cultures of the linguistic communities in question show many similarities.

62

See Section 2.3 for more about Karttunen (1969) and his term ‘discourse referent’.

63 See Section 2.2.2 for some further information about this study.

54

The learner clearly ‘manages’ the indefinite/definite divide, but from the data collected here, is it possible to say that he really masters the patterns of the target language? I would say that such a conclusion would be premature. It is not possible to distinguish whether or not the learner simply uses the pattern of his mother tongue, in which case the ‘correctness’ would be a simple case of positive transfer, or whether he is aware of how objects are supposed to be introduced in the target language, i.e. he has acquired a target-like pattern.

With this I mean, that one should be careful to say that the learner has acquired the target language with respect to this feature; his performance is clearly target-like but whether or not he is aware of this is something completely different. He can also have acquired the structure without it being a case of transfer but still without him being aware of its acquisition. On the one hand there is the distinction transfer vs. acquisition and on the other hand the question of awareness. From my results it is not possible to draw any further conclusions about this. In order to research this aspect further, one could devise tests where the learner has to judge sentences/clauses introducing referents in texts according to their appropriateness. Another possibility could be to interview the learner about his awareness of definite/ibdefinite morphology paired with this aspect of information structure.

Whether or not the learner’s intentions and awareness are of importance is another interesting question arising from his flawless performance. As long as the learner produces target-like forms, is it important why he does so? One could argue that, as he performs appropriately, it is not relevant to look into his perceptions of referent introduction. However,

I think that having awareness of the different aspects of information structure could be a first step towards correctness. This can of course be linked to the question of ‘Learning versus

Acquisition’, most notably discussed in Krashen (1981); it is however, too complex to bring up in this fairly limited paper but it is a question to keep in mind. In this specific case, the learner is lucky; he does not have to acquire a structure from the target language from scratch but can simply use the one of his native tongue. There are other areas of information structure where he most certainly does not have this luxury of similarity to fall back on. As not all aspects are similar (see below for examples), his awareness of the fact that this aspect is similar for both his mother tongue and the target language but that there can be differences between the languages as far as information structure is concerned may help where there are indeed differences. Thus, in my view, examples of similarities as well as of differences may help and developing an awareness of this is of outermost importance to improve a learner’s performance.

55

6.1.2 Constituents of the prefield

There is a fairly high number of adverbials in the prefield of Swedish L1 and a relatively low number of expletives, which may seem unexpected as Swedish is by many thought to be a language with many ‘empty subjects’ in the prefield. However, previous studies such as

Bohnacker & Rosén (2007, 2008, 2009) have looked at other text types than the one employed here. For this specific task, i.e. picture descriptions, there is a lack of data and text types may vary with respect to what types of constituents are placed in the prefield. In one way, the nature of the task in itself makes it logical to use many adverbial-initial clauses. The task was to describe pictures and this includes stating the positions of the objects in the pictures, thus many spatial/locational adverbials are to be expected, and as they also can be expected to form an important part of the clause they are frequently placed in the prefield.

Note that the data from Swedish L1 confirms to this idea whereas the Swedish L2 as well as the Dutch L1 data do not; they do not show a pronounced tendency of placing spatial/locational adverbials in the prefield. Instead the pattern in Swedish L2 and Dutch L1 is one of a high number of subjects in the prefield.

This is thus an aspect of the target language which the learner has not yet mastered, he does not yet place ‘enough’ spatial/locational adverbials in initial. Instead he seems to be following the pattern of his native tongue, something which could be due to transfer.

However, this may be related to text type and could also be speaker-related, i.e. his pattern could in fact be a personal pattern and not representative for Dutch L1 for this type of descriptions. An important question is then whether or not this non-target-like behaviour from the learner appears ‘strange’ or un-Swedish. As a native speaker I would say that his Swedish

L2 is acceptable, even though it has a somewhat childish ring to it due to the high amount of simple S-V-X structures. Considering the task and text type his language is not notably divergent from that of the native controls when looking at it from a structural point of view.

6.1.3 The high rate of S-V-X in the learner language

The data collected from the learner language (Swedish L2) contains a high rate of S-V-

X clauses. This is maybe not unexpected as learner language, especially in its earlier stages of development is often thought to be primarily made up of main clauses with this structure.

Indeed S-V-X is by some researchers thought to be the universal, ‘canonical’ or basic word

order.

64 However, I would argue that this kind of conclusion cannot simply be drawn from

64 See Clahsen & Muysken (1986), Klein & Perdue (1997), Pienemann (1998) for more on this.

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my data. One needs only to ask a simple question: if learner language primarily contains S-V-

X clauses and this is a sign of learner language, as some argue, then why do my Dutch L1 data contain the same pattern? Is the learner’s Dutch L1 also at an early developmental stage?

Or is it possible that this tendency towards a high usage of S-V-X, in this kind of task, is in fact a trait of his native tongue, Dutch? It is true that the learner language has a higher number of S-V-X structures, but this fact cannot only be explained by reference to some kind of universal learning pattern. I do not think that it is possible to draw conclusions about

possible developmental stages from my data.

65 One should also notice that the structure of

Advl-V-X is not absent from the learner language; in fact the learner seems to have mastered this syntactic form and he does not hesitate before uttering the structure, he just does not use it with any higher frequency, which I do not believe is due to avoidance strategies, as his use of the structure is flawless and uttered just as any other clause.

Theories of the universal developmental stages of second language acquisition, such as the ones brought forward by e.g. Clahsen & Muysken (1986), Klein & Perdue (1997) and

Pienemann (1998) 66 may be true, and my data does not prove such theories to be wrong.

However, I see some additional possible explanations for the high usage of S-V-X, namely the following four ones:

1) Vocabulary deficit: It is possible that the low use of adverbial-initial clauses is due to a vocabulary deficit on part of the learner; a more complex vocabulary is needed in order to use a greater variety of adverbial expressions. The learner’s range of e.g. spatial adverbs is more limited than that of the native controls who use expressions such as till vänster om

‘to the left of’ and rakt fram ‘straight to the front’ which are absent form the learner language. However, adverbial expressions are not absent from the learner language, there is just a tendency to place them after the verb as in this example: det står en påse på

golvet ‘there is a bag standing on the floor’.

2) Transfer: There is the possibility of transfer (interference) in the area of information structure: The patterns of Dutch L1 are very similar to the ones found in the Swedish L2.

Thus, it is not impossible to imagine that the learner uses the patterns of his mothertongue. Combined with a slight vocabulary deficit in the area of adverbs, this would also

65 I would argue that the conclusion drawn in Håkansson, Pienemann & Sayehli (2002) from a similar study of

Swedish learners of German is far too broadly drawn. They interpreted the high rate of S-V-X found in teenage

Swedish L1 learners of German as support for the ‘canonical’ S-V-X word order. However, they draw this very large conclusion from a very limited amount of data, i.e. only 12 possible contexts of non-subject-initial V2 for all 10 learners.

66 For arguments against the universal stages of second language acquisition see Bohnacker (2007:42ff).

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explain why the learner shows a pattern with an even higher percentage of subjects in the prefield than in his Dutch L1.

3) Correlation with existential perspective of referent introduction: The high number of existential constructions used to introduce referents in the learner language (as well as in

Dutch L1) correlates with the high number of S-V-X. As this type of referent introduction seems to be preferred by the learner, something which could be due to transfer from the mother tongue, as Dutch L1 shows a very similar pattern, and as a large part of the descriptions are in fact referent introductions, it is possible that the high rate of S-V-X is not linked to any developmental stage or to the learner’s knowledge of other structures but simply to the preferred way of introducing referents. Existential constructions for introducing referents are by necessity subject-initial whereas the adverbials are only given later in the clauses; this is the very definition of an existential construction, and thus there is a clear correlation between these constructions and the syntactic structure of S-V-X.

One could argue that existential constructions are primarily used just because they require

S-V-X and this is the learner’s preferred structure. However, this argument loses its power as soon as one compares the L2 to the results for Dutch L1, where exactly the same pattern can be seen. The fact that the learner’s preferred syntactic structure (as well as perspective of referent introduction) in his mother tongue is S-V-X (and existential constructions) suggest that his prevalence of S-V-X and existential constructions in his

Swedish L1 is not due to his being on a certain universal developmental stage. From my data it is not possible to conclude whether S-V-X creates an existential perspective or the other way around, but data from null-subject languages, such as Spanish, which lacks the constraint of placing an object in the pre-verbal slot but nevertheless have a predominantly

existential perspective 67 at least suggests that an existential perspective is not derived from

the S-V-X structure. This can be seen in the following fictive Spanish example: Hay un

ordenador ‘is/exists a computer’. Last but not least the following can be noted in my data:

4) The behaviour of the native controls: The Swedish native controls do not use any additional structures that the learner does not use; they indeed have a higher frequency of adverbial-initial clauses but do not use any more complex structures, such as clefts (nor any much more complicated choice of adverbial types). This seems to indicate that at least for this task native Swedish speakers do not use more complex structures and the learner’s use of predominantly S-V-X cannot be conceived as deviant.

67 See Carroll et al (2000) and Carroll & von Stutterheim (1993, 2003).

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To conclude this section and summarize the discussion: There are many possible explanations for the learner’s high number of S-V-X, but to attribute them to a theory of universal developmental stages of language acquisition is most likely to be too simplistic and cannot be proved by the small amount of data collected here.

6.1.4 The issue of demonstratives

There is one aspect of referent maintenance where the three varieties differ substantially, or rather where the learner follows the pattern of his native tongue. This concerns the distribution of the forms for referent maintenance. Both the learner (in Dutch L1 as well as in

Swedish L2) and the Swedish L1 native controls use pronouns and definite forms. Pronominal adverbs are absent from the Swedish data and are rare in Dutch L1, so there is no notable difference between the three varieties here. However, when considering the case of the definite forms, some differences emerge. Simple definite NP’s are used for referent maintenance in all varieties but the demonstrative + NP structure, which is fairly common in the Swedish L1 data, seen in examples such as den här moppen ‘this mop’, is completely absent from Dutch L1 and Swedish L2. This is noteworthy because Dutch, just like Swedish, has demonstrative pronouns and uses them to combine with NP’s, e.g. deze schilderijen ‘these paintings’. Can the absence of demonstrative structures in the Dutch speaker at hand be due to individual variation? Is it the case that the native Dutch speaker studied (the learner of

Swedish L2) does not use this construction whereas it is common or at least sometimes used by other native Dutch speakers in this kind of task? Or are demonstratives simply less common in Dutch than in Swedish? Or are there subtle differences in the meaning and the actual use of demonstratives between the two languages? The only possibility to answer this question would be to collect data from a large number of Dutch native speakers. There is also the possibility that demonstrative use is individual in Swedish L1. Out of the three native controls used, only two use this construction to any great extent. The third native control has only one case of a demonstrative and it can thus be regarded as rare in the descriptions of this speaker. I have even considered this use to be some kind of dialectal phenomena, even though the three native controls are from the same area; many of the forms with demonstratives have non-standard plural endings. It is also possible that there is a difference within genres; maybe demonstratives are not used in Dutch oral room descriptions whereas for the same type of

Swedish descriptions they are not uncommon. Note that the fact that the learner does not use any demonstrative in his Swedish L2 does not make it non-target-like; there are no cases in

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his descriptions where a demonstrative structure would have been more appropriate. This suggests that demonstrative constructions are in fact optional in this kind of simple room descriptions in Swedish. However, more research is needed to be able to determine the cause of the difference between the languages as well as why the learner does not use demonstratives in his Swedish L2.

6.1.5 The results and individual variation

As this study involved a small quantity of data from few speakers the question of individual variation is an important one. This is especially true for the case of Swedish L2 and Dutch L1, as all the data collected comes from one single speaker. The question is: Are the discovered patterns for the aspects of information structure researched here individual for this specific learner, i.e. this Dutch L1er? And thus, should they at all be considered characteristic of

Dutch? The same can be asked about demonstrative use in Swedish, as only two out of the three speakers use them frequently in the descriptions. Of course, some variance can be expected between different native speakers, but the question is whether or not this speaker is representative for Dutch native speakers as a group. From this study, this is of course impossible to tell. This is one issue we should keep in mind when looking at the results from my study; it is hard to conclude anything about individual variation without collecting and analyzing more data. A larger study with more data from Dutch L1, a language in which word order and information structural patterns have not been researched that much (to my knowledge), is needed.

6.1.6 The results and the nature of the task

When looking at the results, especially with the learner’s above mentioned deviations from the norms employed by the native controls, the question arises whether or not these ‘un-

Swedish’ patterns really make the learner language non-target-like. As seen above parts of the differences could be due to individual variances. Is the learner’s Swedish L2 ‘abnormal’ or strongly deviant from the norms? This can of course not be determined by looking at the percentages of e.g. different constituents in the prefield; rather it needs a different type of analysis. To truly test this one would have to have native speakers judge the ‘quality’ of the learner language. From my own perspective, as a native speaker I would argue that the interlanguage is in fact not so divergent from the norms. The learner’s Swedish L2

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descriptions gives a rather ‘flat’ impression, it is not as colourful as the native’s descriptions and it is more repetitive (less so in the second recording), but I hink that his descriptions would be accepted as sufficient by most native speakers. This, I think, is partly due to the nature of the task, to describe pictures. The hearer, a native, would be expecting descriptions of simple pictures and thus would not expect complex, narrative structures. The form of the task limits the necessity for complex structures. The learner’s descriptions are fairly short and this could be seen as not giving enough information, but it is largely due to lack of vocabulary. The native descriptions are not overly varied in a structural sense but they do use more complex words and are more detailed in their descriptions; there is no use of any structures that the learner completely lacks, in fact the only structural difference seems to be higher number of adverbials in the prefield. In fact, the very specific nature of this task and the expectation coming with this task (both from speaker and hearer) makes it especially hard to draw conclusions concerning the languages as well as the learner’s abilities and patterns in general. The learner uses a modal adverbial twice in the prefield; in the native descriptions only adverbials of place and time can be found. What one can see from this is thus that natives also do not use complex structures in this kind of task; the small variation in register is due to the nature of the task, i.e. one cannot expect complex narratives when describing a simple picture.

Another aspect linked to the nature of the task concerns the referents introduced in definite form and thus the type of ‘presupposed knowledge’ that is taken for granted in the discourse of the descriptions. When looking at those words (See Appendix 3 for list) one can clearly see that they are room-related. This presupposed information is the same for all three varieties and I believe it to be highly linked with the well-defined task and thus with the instructions given to the speakers. If the task had been more open, maybe there would have emerged differences concerning presupposed information, e.g. knowledge of natural existence of objects in that context, between the different varieties. This is an interesting question which is unfortunately outside the range of the present study. Keeping the task clearly defined limits the type of conclusions that can be drawn and leaves less room for individual variation in terms of presupposed information.

6.2 The results and some reflections on language teaching

In this section some implications which my results could have for language teaching will be discussed.

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One of the questions that was brought to my attention during this study, as it became clear that the learner was not completely target-like with respect to the researched features, was what kind of possible implications for language teaching it would have if these differences, as well as differences in other information structural features, were taken into account. Considering my results which recommendations could be made for language teaching? The following three aspects/questions/topics were the ones I judge to be the most important ones:

1) Learning ‘nativeness’ = learning a new perspective on sentence/text organisation?

:

This is a question which should have a prominent position in language teaching. My results at least partly support the transfer hypothesis, i.e. transfer is found to be a plausible explanation for the learner’s deviation from Swedish norms. Therefore I believe that the information structure of the target language and especially where it differs from the native tongue of the learners should be put into focus in language teaching. How this would be done is more a question of pedagogy and need not concern us here but I suggest that making learners aware of these differences in information organization together with the target-language input should be the keystones of any pedagogy suitable for language teaching.

(2) The importance of target-language input (reading, listening, interaction with natives): in order to get ‘the feeling’ for the language, something which I believe is strongly linked with acquiring the information structure of a language, a large amount of ‘naturalistic input’, i.e. natives speaking or authentic text is needed. This is superior to ‘corrected’ input, i.e. input that only includes the structures recently acquired by the learners (cf. Krashen 1981). Both input and awareness are important for developing a target-like information structure; naturalistic acquisition, e.g. learning mainly through correct input and not through explicit instruction, is often very slow and not always effective as learners may continue with their mistakes. Similarly, too little target-language input will not be sufficient for improving the learner’s language use. However, this is not directly linked with my results and other research is needed in order to confirm this.

3) The question of mixed groups for language teaching: it can be questioned whether or not groups of language teaching should be mixed. If the linguistic backgrounds of the learners are too different, it is hard to provide a meaningful teaching of information structure; some of the learners may have to spend many hours with things they have already mastered and simultaneously not receiving enough instructions on the areas where they encounter the greatest difficulties.

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For all these aspects it is of course important to consider the purpose of L2 acquisition.

Is the purpose nativeness or near-nativeness, successful communication or simply to make oneself understood in simple situations? Minor differences in information structure, such as in the other parts of language, may or may not impede communication, depending on how important they are judged to be by natives. Thus, irrelevantly of the goal of L2 acquisition, receiving teaching on information structural aspects can be useful. However, if the goal is to come as close to nativeness as possible, then this is an aspect which is cannot be forgotten lest the goal will never be achieved. The aspects researched here may be on the micro-level, but they still create results on the macro-level as they are a part of information structure, which is a part of the ability for language use. This linguistic ability can be seen as part of the much larger frame of Interaction Competence, which, as specified by Lindgren (2009:4), is “the

knowledge and abilities needed of an interactant in order to be able to interact with others.”

This is the competence that determines successful interaction

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and small and seemingly

unimportant information structural features may have a large impact on a learner’s Interaction

Competence, especially as information structure is so tightly linked with language use and thus with the ability to interact. Also correctness concerning some parts of Interaction

Competence can be judged to be more important than other parts by native speakers; I believe that information structure may be one of the things that can be ‘judged harshly’ by natives if it is not used correctly. It also impedes communication/interaction as there may be confusion about the status of certain information as well as that the structure of information is what gives narratives and talk in general coherence. Because of this, I think that knowledge and teaching of information structure is highly relevant. If the learner of this study would have received explicit instruction as well as specific exercises concerning the information structure

of Swedish, even though instruction does not always lead to acquisition, 69 he may have shown

target-like patterns in all the researched features; this would surely be a step forward.

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For more on the concept of Interaction Competence, see Lindgren (2009).

69 See Doughty & Long (2003) for some papers expressing different opinions about this subject.

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6.2 The results and other research: External comparison

In this section I will discuss my results in light of some earlier results from other studies. The discussion will be limited to two themes: the issue of differences between Germanic languages for the researched information structural features and the issue of the validity of the existential/spatial divide for referent introduction proposed by Carroll et al. (2000) and Carroll

& von Stutterheim (1993, 2003).

6.2.1 The results and lack of comparable studies

One problem with discussing the results of this study in comparison with other studies is the sheer lack of earlier relevant studies. This language combination and topic seems to have, to my knowledge, been neglected by researchers so far. Picture descriptions in Dutch and

Swedish have not been researched separately either. Thus there is not much to compare my results to. However, in the following two sections I will make a comparison of the studies available. Above, the results have already been discussed in isolation - the reason for the extended ‘internal’ discussion is precisely the fact that there are not sufficient earlier studies to base a discussion of comparison on.

6.2.2 Indications of differences between closely related Germanic languages

My results show differences between Swedish L1 and Dutch L1 for the oral descriptions of pictures for the distribution of constituents in the prefield as well as for spatial/existential perspectives of referent introduction. Even though the amount of data is not large, there is an indication that there may be some differences between Dutch and Swedish in this area, at least for the type of oral descriptions studied. This supports the idea that there are in fact information structural differences between closely related Germanic languages. Especially when considering the results of Bohnacker & Rosén (2007, 2008, 2009) for Swedish-German, where German was shown to have a higher rate of non-subjects in the prefield whereas

Swedish had a tendency to place expletives and other semantically light constituents in the prefield, and of Carroll et al (2000) and Carroll & von Stutterheim (1993, 2003) for English-

German, where English was shown to have a predominantly existential pattern of referent introduction whereas German had a spatially based perspective, it seems likely to assume that

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closely related Germanic languages in fact differ with respect to referent introduction and maintenance as well as to distribution of prefield constituents.

When comparing my results to those of Bohnacker & Rosén (2007, 2008, 2009), it is interesting to note that even though Dutch is closer than Swedish to German, in one sense

Dutch seems to be further ‘away’, as in my study the amount of subjects in the prefield of the

Dutch L1 data is even larger than for Swedish L1. According to G. Håkansson (1997:50)

Swedish, Dutch, Icelandic and German have a similar distribution of prefield constituents with 60% subject initial declaratives. However, G. Håkansson (1997) does not give any evidence in the form of data to support this claim; it is simply a statement made without any references to any studies. Bohnacker & Rosén (2007, 2008, 2009) showed that the proposed percentages of G. Håkansson (1997) do not match the figures they got from actual Swedish and German L1 data and the results from my study indicate a possible difference between

Swedish and Dutch as well. However, I am aware of the fact that my study is small and that more data is needed to support this claim. Also the fact that my data is of a different type that the data collected by Bohnacker & Rosén (2007, 2008 2009) makes the results hard to interpret. I believe that more research is needed for the combination of Dutch and Swedish in order to be able to say something more specific of the differences between the information structures of the two languages.

Another interesting point when comparing my study and the results of Bohnacker &

Rosén (2007, 2008, 2009) is the fact that their learners, as well as the learner in my study, did not master the differences in information structure. This is true for the learners in the study of

Carroll et al (2000) and Carroll & von Stutterheim (1993, 2003) as well.

70 Many of these

learners were at an advanced level. This seems to indicate that these patterns are not easily learned. The learner in my study is at a fairly advanced level (see Section 4.1) and has mastered most of the formal aspects of syntax and morphology. Yet, his information structural pattern is not completely that of a native Swedish speaker. However, his descriptions are, from the viewpoint of a native Swede, not abnormal to any higher degree; for such simple descriptions his high use of the S-V-X structure is acceptable, but if the task was to give more detailed descriptions his language use would be considered somewhat repetitive.

Mastering information structural patterns is an important aspect in order to be regarded as ‘speaking correctly’, something which was also shown by Bohnacker & Rosén (2007,

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Even though their English L1 learners of German L2 did master some aspects of the spatial perspective of

German.

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2008, 2009). However, the question of why this is the case is also not completely answered in these studies. It is apparent that this subject needs more research.

The present study thus supports the results of the earlier mentioned studies of information structure; the learner in this study has not (yet) mastered the information structure of the target language. Considering the other studies, it seems that L2 learners do not easily manage to master this; maybe due to a lack of instruction in the subject. The learner in this study is not on a very advanced level (as the learners of some of the other studies mentioned), therefore the it is an open question how his interlanguage will develop. To determine this, more research is needed on learners of different levels or of a learner’s development over time

(a longitudinal design).

6.2.3 The results and the spatial/existential divide

One important issue that has been raised during the work with this project is the question of the validity of the divide in spatial and existential perspective of referent introduction made by Carroll et al. (2000) and Carroll & von Stutterheim (1993, 2003). This section will discuss

the usefulness of this divide, 71 starting with two points of critique that emerge from the results

of this study, the occurrence of non-fitting cases and the structure of Expl-V-logical Slocational Advl. Of course this discussion will be fairly limited as the focus of this paper is not to criticize Carroll et al.’s dichotomous concept but I believe that especially the first point is highly relevant and should be considered in the development of the spatial/existential divide.

1) Non-fitting cases: A fairly high percentage of non-fitting cases, i.e. cases of referent introduction that are neither existential nor spatial, can be found in my material (18% for

Swedish L1, 11% for Swedish L2 and 16% for Dutch L1). In the framework of e.g.

Carroll et al. (2000) no such cases are mentioned. In their model every referent introduction is perceived of as fitting into one of the two dichotomic categories.

However, Carroll et al. (2000) do not present any tables of data over how the actual distribution is in terms of percentages for the researched languages. They only claim that from their data German has a primarily spatial perspective of referent introduction, whereas English and the Romance languages are more directed towards existential constructions; they do not support this claim with actual figures which leaves me wondering whether or not they also encountered ambiguous or non-fitting cases. If they

71 See Section 2.3.1 or Carroll et al. (2000) and Carroll & von Stutterheim (1993, 2003) for more on this divide.

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did, they do not mention this. It is possible that in their data, all cases could indeed be classified in terms of either spatial of existential, but it is equally possible that they have simply excluded non-fitting cases in order to create the perfect model. From the report made of their data in the above mentioned articles, it is not possible to tell which answer is the correct one. I think that a discussion around the possibilities of encountering expressions that do not fit into this divide, even if they did not see such cases in their data, would strengthen the model’s plausibility.

The non-fitting cases in my data include cases where the referents are introduced with a definite but there are far more non-fitting cases than there are cases of definite referent introduction. When looking more closely at the non-fitting cases there are two types: the ones introduced simply in the form of subjects/objects of the clause (these are always definites) and the ones introduced as a part of an adverbial, i.e. as a part of a spatial expression (these are not only definites). Being introduced as a part of an adverbial expression as is the case with the not previously mentioned referent golv ‘floor’, which is introduced in the following adverbial expression: på golvet ‘on the floor’, is not the same as that the introduction of golv shows a spatially directed perspective. It is also clearly not existential as there is no statement of existence in this referent introduction. The existence of the referent as well as its position is taken for granted in the discourse. The question is how to deal with such cases in the strictly dichotomic framework of spatial and existential perspective as the only possibilities? There is clearly no room for this type of referent in the model proposed by e.g. Carroll et al. (2000).

2) The structure Expl + V + logical S + locational Advl: This structure is common in all my three varieties of data. This is an interesting case, as locational/spatial adverbials and description of positions are not absent but they are just preceded by a statement of existence, thus they are per definition existential constructions. However, the more fundamental question is whether or not this construction really puts a strong focus on the referent and thus answers the question ‘What is where?’ of the existential perspective and not the question ‘Where is what?’ signalling a spatial perspective. I would argue that this construction does not make the position less relevant than the referent introduced. Is the position of the adverbial really the decisive factor in order to judge whether or not position is important in the discourse/language? I think that this conclusion it may be to simplistic, especially as one could argue that placing a constituent last in the clause would also stress the content of that constituent, this would make the ‘weak’ beginning with the expletive and the object the background of the clause and the focus would then be the focus of the clause. This, of course, surely differs

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between languages and the question would need to be researched further before one can state that a language has a certain perspective. Also the broader context in which the referent introduction is made could be significant for determining the ‘perspective’ of the introduction.

In sum, I think that even though the theoretical framework of spatial/existential perspectives of referent introduction is a very interesting one, its explanatory power is seriously weakened by the fact that a large amount of the cases in the present study are left outside the divide, they simply become ‘non-fitting cases’. I believe that an alternative, more developed framework is needed that deal with the non-fitting cases (not only the ones found in my data but also other possible constructions). Even though a dichotomy is always tempting as it is very simple, I think that this is a case where the dichotomy instead oversimplifies the reality of language use.

7. Conclusion

In this chapter some short, general conclusions will be drawn (Section 7.1). Some problems with this study will also be discussed (Section 7.2) and some suggestions for further research will be made (Section 7.3).

7.1 General conclusions

The way referents are introduced and maintained in terms of indefinite/definite forms is very similar in Swedish L1 and Dutch L1 and not surprisingly the learner shows the same tendencies in his Swedish L2: referents are introduced with indefinite forms and maintained with definite forms/pronouns. Note that Swedish L1 uses forms of demonstrative + noun/NP whereas these forms are completely absent from the Dutch L1 and Swedish L2 data.

However, no explanation could be found for this in the data.

The learner in this study has mastered, or simply transferred, the information structure of referent introduction and maintenance in terms of the indefinite/definite divide. However, this is not surprising as the results for Dutch L1 are very similar. In the areas where Dutch

L1v and Swedish L1 differ, i.e. for constituents in the prefield and spatial/existential perspective of referent introduction the L2 learner fails to accommodate to the norms of

Swedish L1 but retains the patterns of his native language.

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In the discussion chapter it was argued that from the data collected here no conclusions concerning the reasons for the differences between Dutch and Swedish can be drawn. As for the patterns found in the Swedish L2 data, transfer from the mother tongue is a reasonable explanation, as the patterns of Dutch L1 and Swedish L2 are very similar, but other explanations cannot be completely excluded.

The framework of spatial/existential perspective of referent introduction as described by

Carroll et al (2000) and Carroll & von Stutterheim (1993, 2003) was found to be overly simplistic when we consider the high number of non-fitting cases in this study as well as the lack of inability of this model to account for structures where the locational adverbs are present but occur after the referent. An alternative framework would be needed to account for these cases, however to create this lies outside the scope of the present paper.

Concerning my two research questions: Do Dutch L1 and Swedish L1 differ in their patterns of information structure in the area of referent introductions and maintenance and prefield constituents in picture descriptions? Does the L2 learner adhere to the target language

(Swedish) patterns, the patterns of his mother tongue (Dutch), or does his interlanguage exhibit different patterns? The answers to these questions are the following: Yes, there are differences between Dutch L1 and Swedish L1 in the data presented here, in distribution of constituents in the prefield and existential/spatial perspective of referent introduction. In these areas the learner follows the patterns of his native tongue and not the one of the target language.

7.2 Problems with the study

The main problem with this study and with its results is of course the fact that the data collected is very small. This is especially true for the Dutch L1 data set. Because of this, any conclusions drawn cannot be clearly proven but the results should be seen as indications of patterns for the different languages/varieties.

Except for the small amount of data no problems were experienced by the author. This is probably due to the quite simple method of analysis. The choice of the pictures was not an easy task and this could perhaps have been done more carefully. Still, the pictures do not contain the same items and this was judged important for the selection (see Section 4.3).

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7.3 Suggestions for future research

Below some suggestions for future research are made. There are many areas of interests an these suggestions are but a few of the possible continuations of the study presented in this paper.

- In future research one should be to collect as much data as possible for both Dutch and

Swedish as well as on the combination of them. This not only applies to the field of second language acquisition but also to other fields were similarities/differences between the two languages could be studied.

- One possibility for future research would be to carry out a larger study with the same objectives as this one, to see if the patterns found here will also replicated in a larger study.

My suggestion would be to study at least 10 learners and compare them to an equivalent number of native controls. Another possibility would be to investigate the one learner more in depth, collecting a more extensive amount of data from him and perhaps to make a longitudinal study of his development. This would then be compared to a larger number of native controls, both for Swedish L1 and for Dutch L1.

- In order to investigate if these differences in information structural patterns of Dutch and

Swedish in picture descriptions also exist in written texts, one could do the same experiment but instead of oral descriptions the informant(s) would write texts describing the pictures.

- In order to study whether or not the learner’s low use of adverbials in the prefield and spatial referent introductions is due to vocabulary deficits or transfer of patterns from the mother tongue one could carry out an experiment in which the learner would get the same pictures but also be provided with a list of nouns and spatial expressions. This would then mean that he would not be limited by his lack of words and this might yield a different structural result.

Of course, the list would have to be structured carefully in order not to make any structure easier from the structure of the list. The same experiment could also be done in writing. This experiment , or one of the two other above mentioned projects, is something I hope to be able to carry out in the future.

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- More research into spatial/existential perspectives of referent introductions is clearly needed.

The dichotomy is clearly to simple as the results of this study show and I see a need to develop a broader, more inclusive framework for perspectives of referent introduction.

- Research on other closely related Germanic languages such as a study with a comparison of different Scandinavian languages would also be useful in determining the extent of differences between different closely related languages.

- To make the link with sociology and cultural studies could also be useful; research into how much of information structure is culturally dependent would be very interesting.

- Finally, studies of the reverse language pair, i.e. Swedish L1-Dutch L2 would be helpful to determine the cause of the learner’s problem with acquiring the Swedish patterns of referent introduction in terms of the spatial/existential divide.

71

8. References

8.1 Internet sources

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SFI (Swedish For Immigrants) levels: http://www.skolverket.se/sb/d/389

SFI levels and their correspondence to the European levels: http://www.skolverket.se/sb/d/471/

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Appendix 1: The pictures

Picture 1

Picture 2

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Appendix 2: The transcripts

The following pages contain the transcripts of the oral descriptions. Any text in italics is an utterance made by the ‘listener’ and this has not been included in the total word count. For the transcript of Dutch L1 it should be taken into account that the transcriber (the author herself) is not a native speaker and thus the possibility of e.g. spelling mistakes exists.

Swedish L1

Picture 1

Native Control 1:

där ser det ut som ett badrum eh, i den här bilden är det en person, som står och moppar golvet eller nånting eller skurar golvet ser det ut som för hon har, hon har nånting som har ett långt skaft och sen så har hon en hink alldeles bredvid sig så jag tror att det är en skurhink. hon står på högersidan av bilden, hon har svart hår och en rosa klänning på sig och så har hon den här moppen då eller då som hon kör med på golvet, eh, och alldeles framför henne på bilden så står eh, är... tvättstället som har några konstiga ränder på sig, det ser nästan ut som det är nåt typ, inte vet jag, zebraränder eller nånting eh, det ser nästan ut som en figur det här tvättstället, man förstår ju att det är ett tvättställ eftersom det ska vara ett badrum men det ser nästan ut som en gubbe, det har liksom såhär typ grodansikte liksom såhär med uppåtstående fluppar, ja men det ser ut så här. och ovanför, tvättstället finns det två saker, på högra sidan är det nån typ av hylla som, som det, det är tre hyllor i den här hyllan och det finns, det står liksom typ två oformliga grejor, det ska väl se ut som flaskor eller nånting, på varje hylla, hyllplan, och till vänster så är det en liten spegel som sitter jättehögt upp på väggen, det ser ut som om den här personen inte kommer nå till den i alla fall om hon inte står på typ tre pallar. och till vänster om tvättstället så hänger det en sån hära eh, handdukshängare en sån här ring som man bara hänger handduken rätt igenom, och nedanför det finns det en toalettpappershållare som också har sådana hära zebrastreck och till vänster om eh handfatet så finns en toalett som också har zebrastreck och som ser ut som om den är lite skitig, det är nån brun plutt på den, och det hela bilden...

2:16 (337 words)

Native control 2:

Ja... här har vi badrumsbilden, då och.. man kan se en, en kvinna som är klädd i nån sorts linneaktigt eller kort klänning utan axelband, i.. som står till höger i bilden och hon moppar, hon har en sorts mopp i handen och.. bredvid den så är det en vattenpöl och framför hennes fötter står en hink med, som är full med vatten. och hon har blåa skor som är...ja, som ser ut som vanliga skor och... ja, hon har svart hår, som... ja, det finns inte så mycket att säga om det, hon är ganska mörk och sen rakt fram, i, så finns det ett tvättställ med kranar och tvättstället är liksom... randigt nästan, det är som att det är, jag vet inte om det ska visa att det böjs på sidorna, men det är i alla fall streck som går in på foten av tvättstället. bredvid tvättstället så är det en toapappershållare, det är en bit toapapper som sticker ut så, och bredvid den så är det, så finns det en toalett, då, en vit. alla de här sakerna är vita. och ovanför toapappershållaren, nästan lite bredvid, ovanför och bredvid från toaletten så hänger det en handduk som hänger på en sån här ring som är, en handdukshållar-ring liksom, och väggen är lite beigeaktig sådär på nåt sätt, som den hänger på och golvet är vitt också och sen ovanför tvättstället där så finns det ett fönster, man kan se att det är blå himmel utanför och sen kanten

78

på fönstret liksom, fönsterramen, är brun och.. lite till höger, mellan den här kvinnan som står här och det här tvättstället finns det någon sorts skåp eller hyllor liksom, bakgrunden är, eller väggen på skåpet är gul och det står, det finns tre olika nivåer, eller tre olika hyllor i den och på varje hylla står det två saker, verkar vara nån sorts flaskor eller så och.. det är en rosa och en blå flaska på den nedersta hyllan och en rosa och en mer lilaaktig på den mellersta och på den översta står det en blå som är lite större och en lila mindre flaska och i det här fönstret, så, som är bredvid den här hyllan, finns det två repor i glaset så det ser ut liksom som att glaset är repat, ja det var den bilden.

3:39 (390 words)

Native Control 3:

Mm, äh, det här är en bild på ja, ett badrum eller ja, en toalett, eh, och det är en städerska, tror jag, en glad städerska ser det ut o va, som äh, ja, har en, vad heter det, jag tror inte hon sopar golvet, det är svårt att se om hon sopar golvet eller om hon moppar, men hon har ju en hink där, så vi säger, jag tror hon moppade, och så, äh, ah, så är det ett handfat, det är ett vitt handfat *skratt* med två kranar och en kran, eller vad heter det *skratt* ah, *ohörbart* äh,

åsså och så lite under handfatet eller så hänger det en toa, en hållare med en toarulle, toarulle och sen så, ja, o sen så står toalettstolen där och, ja, vad ska man säga *skratt* toahållaren är mellan handfatet och toastolen och ovanför, eh, toastolen och toaletthållaren hänger en handduk, och ovanför handduken, lite snett ovanför och ovanför handfatet är det ett litet fönster och sen till höger om fönstret så äh, är det, en hylla tror jag, som det står lite flaskor i, ah, det är sex olika flaskor eller vad det är, med olika färger, blått och rosa, ah, jag skulle säga att det är typ fyra nyanser av rosa och en mörkare blå och en ljusare blå flaska, det var allt...

3:13 (225 ord)

Picture 2

Native Control 1:

ja, det ser ut som att det är ett sovrum, om man börjar på vänsters, på väggen på vänster sida så är det en säng och ovanför sängen så är det en plansch med en jordglob på o den här sängen den har liksom såhära gavlar, en gavel och en fotända och och nå såhär spjälor som går ner, upp och ner, och alldeles framför närmast oss på bilden, alltså typ vid sängens gavel det blir typ, vad ska man säga, ah, det blir väl typ, vänstra hörnet då står det en så här stor kasse, kanske en pappkasse ungefär, sån storlek som är lite orange eh, och på sängen, som inte har nåt överkast men som har typ täcke och kudde så står det en laptop som är uppslagen som om någon bara har lämnat den och bara gått ut en kort sekund och så under sängen, liksom lite halvt under sängen, så ligger det en så hära förlängningssladdsdosa o så hära det är sähär fyra kontaktplatser i, och så sladden som man ser som inte är ikopplad i nåt. ovanför sängen, ovanför liksom huvudändan av sängen så är det en anslagstavla på väggen som har, i alla fall fem olika lappar av olika storlek som sitter på, ser ut som det typ är nåt skrivet på, och bredvid sängen till... ah, på höger sida om man ser från vårat håll så är det en byrå, som har typ tre lådor, eh, och på byrån så står det en kopp med nånting varmt i, man ser liksom hur röken slingrar sig upp och bakom koppen så står en lampa, och bakom byrån så står det en cykel, lite halvt, man ser, man ser liksom det här kedjehuset och en pedal och så ser man... framhjulet och som styret på cykeln, och framför den här byrån som står bredvid sängen så ligger det en matta som är lite halvt ihoprullad och har nåt, nån typ av triangelmönster eller om det är ett diamantmönster på så här, ganska stort...

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2:49(338 ord)

Native Control 2:

och, det är som ett hörn av ett rum och det står, liksom längs ena väggen på det här hörnet står det en säng, som har ett blått överkast och röda sänggavlar, och ovanpå sängen så står det en laptop, en dator, en bärbar dator och framför, vid fotändan av sängen, framför sänggaveln så står det en kasse, ser ut som en papperskasse eller en tygkasse och, på väggen bredvid... sängen så hänger det en, som en karta som det står 'think globally, act locally' på, och det är ett jordklot som är på, och vid huvudändan av sängen, ovanför på väggen så hänger det en, en anslagstavla som hänger på en spik och det sitter fem stycken olika lappar i olika storlekar på den, och sen nästan lite under sängen så ligger det ett grenuttag, som är, med en sån där förlängningssladd på, och mitt på golvet ligger det en nästan helt ihoprullad lila matta, med nån geometrisk form på, och... bredvid sängen, så står... det en byrå med tre lådor och ovanpå byrån står en mugg, en rosa mugg som det ryker ur och en lampa med en, en bordslampa med skärm, en grön skärm med fransar på. och bakom byrån så står det en barncykel som är rosa med vitt styre.

2:18 (214 words)

Native Control 3:

Ja, ehm, det är en del av ett rum, ett hörn skulle man kunna säga kanske, det står en säng längs väggen, med röda, vad heter det, sänggavlar heter det *skratt* det står en laptop på och

överkastet är blått, om det är ett överkast eller ett täcke. det står en papperskasse vid fotändan av sängen på golvet, på golvet ligger också en ihoprullad matta, tror jag, och en sån här kontakt... som man kan ha flera... grenuttag precis... ehm, ovanför sängen så hänger det en affisch kanske som det ah, som det står ’think globally, act locally’ på, och på den andra väggen som man ser i det här hörnet hänger det eh, en anslagstavla med olika lappar på och sen så bredvid sängen, vid huvudändan så står en byrå, med en kopp på, jag tror det ryker ur den till och med, o så står det en lampa, eh, en sån här bordslampa, och bakom byrån ungefär står det en cykel, ah... ja, jag har inte berättat om kudden i huvudändan...

2:50 (174 words)

Dutch L1

Picture 1 wat ik zie is een toalett of badkamer, er is geen dusch of geen bad maar wel een wc, in de kamer is een vrouw aan het schoonmaken, ik weet niet of het haar huis is of haar kamer of dat zij daar werkt, zij is zo een bruine vrouw, met een witte jurk, mmm... verder is er een plaats om de handen te wassen. aan de muur hangt een spiegel boven de kraan, en een handduk, een beeetje roze kleur handduk, er is wc-papier, en naast de spiegel hangt een kast, met seep of schampoo of iets tergelijks, en dat is alles.

is dat alles? Hoe weet je dat de vrouw schoonmaakt?

zij heeft een dweil in haar hand en een emmer met water, en zij is, zij maakt schoon, jij ziet dat zij schoonmaakt, er ligt wat water op de vloer, en ze maakt dat, maakt de vloer schoon...

(140 words)

Picture 2

80

ok, ah, wat ik zie is een slaapkamer, eh, waarschijnlijk van iemand van de leeftijd tussen 15 en 20, er staat een laptop op het bed, de meeste kinderen jonger dan 15 hebben niet een eigen laptop, eh, de kamer ziet er netjes uit, er ligt geen kleding op de grond, ik zie een poster waaarop staat 'think globally, act legally', er is waarschenlijk iemand die geintressert is in dat sort dingen, een beetje een brede bild heeft van de wereld en de wereldproblematik, ehm, ik ben niet zeker of het een jongeskamer of meisjeskamer is, ik denk een jongeskamer, er hangen wenig andere dingen aan de muur, geen tekeningen, geen schilderijen, geen fotos, dus daarom denk ik dat het een jongeskamer is, ehm, verder is het vreemd dat er een fiets op de kamer staat, in de kamer

waar staat de fiets?

die staat achter de kast

welke kast?

er is een kast waroop een lamp staat, een kast met lades, waarof wel kleine dingen in kunnen zitten zoals papier of kleding, sokken, t-shirts, of andere schoolspullen, pennen, boeken misschien, papier... er is een kleine kast. erop staat een kop koffie, er is raar dat er geen beraue is of stoel, die is niet te zien in de kamer, ook de laptop is op het bed, die staat niet op een tafel, meeste kamers hebben een eigen tafel, een eigen stool om aan te werken, mmm, verder is er noch een plastik of een papieretas, achter het bed. ik weet niet waarvor de daar is, waarom die daar ligt...

een verder? zijn er noch wat dingen in de kamer?

ja, een mat of een duk ligt op de grond, half opgerolld... er is raar dat die niet netjes ligt, het bed is heel netjes opgemaakt, schoon, en de mat ligt een beetje half opgerolld, ja, en aan de muur hangt een bord, een prikbord met papier daaraan, waarschenlijk dingen voor school, een schema of iets dergelijks...

aan welke muur?

aan de muur achter het bed. ook raar dat die daar hangt een niet aan een plaats bij de tafel, of er is geen tafel...

6:37 (336 words)

Swedish L2: 1st Recording

Picture 1 ehm, jag ser en eh, badrummet, eller en toa, jag kan inte se nåt bad och dusch bara en toa och en 'sink', handfat, ja, och jag ser en kvinna, kvinna som jag, eh, inte vet om hon arbetar i rummet eller bor i huset, hon städar och hon har en mopp i handen och det står en hink kanske med städmedel, hon är brun och har en... kläd... som är vit och tofflor, ehm, och det finns en toalett som jag sa och toapapper också, det finns en eh, handduk, som hänger på vägg, på väggen och en spegel och en skåp med kanske schampo eller 'soap' eller städmedel vet inte precis vad det är, och det är allt jag ser...

01:48 (121 words)

Picture 2 jag ser en sovrum, ehm, jag tror att det är en pojkes sovrum, mm, eftersom det finns inte så många saker på väggen och ehm, ja, jag tror att det är en pojkes sovrum, jag ser en säng, det

81

är bra bäddat, ordentligt, på sängen är en dator, en bärbar dator, ehm, det är lite konstigt att det inte finns en skrivbord eller stol eh, jag undrar var man sitter och skriver, på sängen kanske, eh, jag ser en skåp, inte så stort, jag tror att det måste finnas några strumpor eller skolsaker, papper kanske, eh, lite konstigt att cykel inne i rummet, förstår inte varför, på väggen finns det en poster som säger 'think globally, act legally', så kanske att han är lite intresserad i, i samhällsproblematik, det finns en liten, vad heter det, anslagstavla, med några saker på, kanske en schema eller, mm, det finns en matta som är inte så ordentligt, lite konstigt, eh, på skåpet finns det en lamp och en kopp kaffe tror jag, eh... och sen finns det en papperspåse, mm, och jag tror det är allt, ja, det finns en el, ehm vad heter det, eh, sladd, som

är använd för lampan och datorn

3:04 (201 words)

Swedish L2: 2nd Recording

Picture 1 ja, jag ser en rum, kan vara en badrum eller en toalett, toa, i rummet finns det en toalett, den är vit, och en 'sink', handfat, som man kan tvätta händerna, ehm, i rummet finns också en kvinna, hon är, jag är inte säkert om hon jobbar eller om hon lever i huset eller bara städar, ehm, hon

är brun, med svart hår, hon har en kläd som är lite rosa kanske, lila, ja, på den bilden och hon städar, hon har en mopp och hon moppar på golvet, en hink också med vatten och disk, tvättmedel eller så, och hon har tofflor också tror jag, ja, sen finns det på väggen en spegel, jag tror att det är en spegel, sen, finns det skåpet med ja, kan det vara, ja, tvål, eller ja, body lotion eller nån creme eller nåt, och sen finns det en handduk, som hänger på nåt, på väggen, den är också lila, på den bilden, den är för att torka händerna, ja...

4:20 (167 words)

Picture 2 jag ser ett rum, det måste vara ett sovrum, eftersom det finns en säng, eh, det är en en-person säng, det finns naturligtvis en madrass på sängen och kudde och lakan och etc, eh, på sängen står en dator, det är en laptop, en bärbar dator, ehm, sen... det finns golvet, naturligtvis, sängen står på golvet, och det står en påsen på golvet, jag vet inte om det är plast eller papper, med en gul-brun färg. det ligger en matta, mattan på golvet, eh, den ligger inte ordentligt, men, lite konstigt, sen, jag kan se två väggar, den ena, på en vägg finns en poster. det står 'think globally, act legally', sen ser jag en glob på den, så möjligtvis att den personen är lite, ja, vänsterpartiet eller nåt, jag vet inte, eh, på den andra väggen sitter nåt, en anslagstavla, med lite papper på, kanske en schema eller nåt, listor, det finns ett skåp, den är inte så stort, möjligtvis att det finns papper eller pennor, möjligtvis strumpor eller ja, kanske, på skåpet står en lamp, den är brun-guld färg, och en kopp kaffe eller te, jag kan inte se vad det är, men det

är nåt varmt, dricka, ja, den är lila färg, sen står det en cykel, det är lite konstigt, att den står på, i sovrummet, men ja, eh... och sen finns det en...det är nånting att sätta in datorn i, el, inte vanligt men, en sladd, förlängningssladd ja, det är allt jag ser på bilden, jag kan fundera lite mer om du vill...

04:34 (258 words)

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Appendix 3: List of definite referent introductions and indefinite referent maintenances

Definite introductions:

Swedish L1

golvet x 5 väggen x 5 / ena väggen huvudändan x3 fotändan x2 den här bilden / badrumsbilden toalettstolen handen högersidan / högra sidan foten av tvättstället / tvättstället kanten på fönstret / fönsterramen handduken glaset bakgrunden väggen på skåpet sladden kudden vänstra hörnet

överkastet röken det här kedjehuset / framhjulet / styret

Indefinite Maintenance

Swedish L1

varje hylla sex olika flaskor ett överkast: ”överkastet är blått, om det är

ett överkast eller ett täcke”

”man förstår ju att det är ett tvättställ eftersom det ska vara ett badrum

Dutch L1

wat water een jongeskamer x2:

”ik ben niet zeker of het een jongeskamer of meisjeskamer is, ik denk een

jongeskamer. Er hangen wenig andere dingen aan de muur, geen tekening, geen schilderijen, geen fotos, dus daarom denk ik dat het een jongeskamer is“.

Dutch L1

de muur x 2 de kamer de grond dat sort ding de vloer de kraan

Swedish L2

väggen x 3 den andra väggen

(den) bilden x 2 golvet x 2 huset x 2 badrummet handen

(tvätta) händerna den ena den personen

Swedish L2

en toalett: ”och det finns en toalett, som jag sa” en pojkes sovrum x 2 städmedel

”jag tror att det är en spegel

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