In the Netherlands, English is ubiquitous in everyday life as an L2 and an increasing amount of primary and secondary schools offer an English based immersion program. The aim of this study is to contribute to the Third Language Acquisition (TLA) debate by investigating to what extent Dutch secondary school students prefer L2 English over L1 Dutch in L3 French acquisition. Therefore, we examine the influence of L1 Dutch and L2 English on L3 French in different stages of development and we study the effect of variables such as input, metalinguistic awareness and type of education on L3 learning by comparing an English immersion vs. a formal instruction programme. We investigate the acquisition of two verb placement constructions that are not present in French: The V2-rule (present in Dutch, but not in French) and no V-to-T movement (present in English, but not in French) and we look at developmental patterns with respect to the background languages hypothesizing that L2 influence develops over time, so that the L3 learners will show an increasing amount of negative transfer in the case of V-to-T and a developmental decrease of the incorrect V2-rule in French.
Supervision: prof.dr. Aafke Hulk, dr. Petra Sleeman