The construction of textual cohesion in Spanish and Italian, as mother tongues and as second languages


This paper analyses 80 narrative texts concerned with Italian and Spanish as L1s and L2s. We shall compare the way both native speakers and learners build textual cohesion when faced with a narrative task involving several referential restrictions: contrasts of entity and polarity; maintenance of the same predication; temporal shifts; etc. The stimulus used to collect the data is The Finite Story by Dimroth (2006). Our work adds to the debate about the learners’ tendency to establish anaphoric linkage according to the specific grammaticized or lexicalized (readily encodable) concepts of their mother tongue even when their competence in L2 is advanced and their L1 is typologically and genetically very close to the L2. Nevertheless, our native and acquisitional data show that grammatical and lexical facts cannot exhaustively explain the speakers’ choices with respect to textual cohesion and the construction of perspective in a given language; an integrative explanation is therefore necessary. We propose to combine the Quaestio model with an enunciative framework. Finally, we will offer some reflections about the functioning of languages in general, which will contribute to general linguistic theory as well as to the domain of second language acquisition.



DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v26p235

Keywords: discourse cohesion, L2 acquisition, discourse and meta-operational approaches, L1 vs L2 perspective-taking


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