Acquisition of Adjective Placement by L3 Learners of English: Evidence for the L2 Status Factor

Maryam Ghezlou, Mansour Koosha, Ahmad Reza Lotfi


This study attempts to tease apart the effect of first (L1) and second (L2) language knowledge on the acquisition of syntactic properties of L3 English in order to test current generative theories in the field of third language acquisition (L3A). The property under investigation is adjective placement. Participants are L1 Azeri / L2 Persian, and L1 Persian learners of English as a third and second language respectively. To fulfill so, 180 bilingual and monolingual university students from Arak and Miyandoab took a general English proficiency test, a background questionnaire, and a syntactic structure test. The L3 proficiency was also considered. The data, then, were analyzed through utilization of descriptive statistics and two-way ANOVA. In relation to the hypotheses, results indicated L2 status as the determining factor in the acquisition of English adjective properties by Azeri-Persian bilinguals. Proficiency level in the L3 also proved to have a significant role. The implications of the study can be utilized in developing an educational and linguistic methodology for bilingual learners of English as an L3 in Iran.


Azeri, Bilingual, L2 Status, L3 proficiency, Persian, Typology, third language acquisition

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