Proficiency and transfer effects in the acquisition of gender agreement by L2 andd L3 English learners

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Abstract  The present study examines the effects of proficiency and transfer in the acquisition of gender agreement in third person singular possessives (his/her) by second (L2) and third language (L3) learners of English. Within current generative second language acquisition research, gender agreement has been found to be a complicated propertyto acquire for non-native language learners. A group of Basque/Spanish speakers(n= 117) and a group of Spanish speakers(n= 70) divided into three proficiency levels (elementary, intermediate and advanced) completed two written (a fill in the gap task and a written description task) and two oral production (oral elicitation task and a picture description task) tasks. Our findings show that transfer and proficiency level in English seem to have an influence on the type of errors attested in the L2 and the L3 groups.

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