Emerging Constructions in the L2 Italian Spoken by Low Literate Migrants

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The emergence of autonomous interlanguage constructions is widely recognised in the literature on L2 Italian. These constructions involve the overgeneralisation of functional forms learnersare in the process of acquiring, e.g., siamo in siamo mangiare ‘be:1PL eat:INF’ (target Italian: mangiamo ‘eat:1PL’); facciamo in facciamo cucinare ‘do:1PL cook:INF’ (target Italian: cuciniamo ‘cook:1PL’); per in piaciare per uscire fuori ‘like:INF for go:INF out’ (target Italian: mi piace uscire fuori ‘to.me like:3SG go:INF out’. ‘Be’/‘do’ forms are assigned a morphosyntactic function to convey temporal/aspectual/person information instead of inflecting the verb, while per ‘for’ is a generic subordinating marker. Based on new corpus data, I claim that such constructions may correlate with a learners’ degree of first language (L1) literacy. In detail, and consistent with, both literate and non-literate learners overgeneralise functional forms while working on the newly acquired morphosyntax; this shows that the non-literates are perfectly able to subconsciously identify functional forms in the input. Non-literates, however, show a stronger tendency than literates to select lexical-syntactic sub-patterns.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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