Vigo International Journal of Applied Linguistics VIAL
Ramiro Cebreiros Álvarez (1): The
operation of transfer and interlanguage principles: the case of empty
categories in the interlanguage of Spanish learners of English. VIAL. Number 1/2004: 33-54.
This study investigates the role of transfer and interlanguage
principles in the occurrence of empty categories in IL. Two experiments
were carried out with a group of 18 learners of English in a natural
context and 33 learners who had received formal instruction in English.
The results showed that transfer was the most important factor involved
in the production of empty categories in all groups. Many cases were
the result of the operation of IL transferability principles such as
the one-to-one principle. Due to transfer, characteristic IL
constructions which do not exist in the L1 or L2 were also produced.
Some empty categories resulted from conceptual transfer, the
transferring of different conceptual representations of the world from
the L1 to the L2. Normally, other SLA phenomena interacted with
transfer in the production of empty categories such as simplification
or overgeneralization, suggesting that the multiple effects principle
may be working. As a consequence, the fossilization of these elements
is plausible. This conclusion is reinforced by the fact that many of
them were still found in the advanced group of learners.
(1) University of Leeds, U.K.
Back to Contents of Number 1
Download full text of this article in pdf format