Searching for patterns in English as a second language : a Norwegian study of 10 and 15 year old learners
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The aim of this master thesis is to investigate the role of language transfer and metalinguistic awareness in Norwegian students' use and evaluation of grammar in their L2 English. The grammatical elements that are investigated are: Bare nouns, subject/verb-agreement, definite articles, adverbials of frequency and the verb second syntax of interrogative clauses. Twelve 10-year old students and twenty-four 15-year old students performed an error-finding test which aimed at investigating possible negative transfer elements from Norwegian to English, as well as their metalinguistic awareness' impact on the L2 proficiency. The hypothesis' of this project are that Norwegian L2 learners of English make mistakes because they negatively transfer properties from Norwegian syntax to English, and that their metalinguistic awareness in the L2 is a significant factor overall, in their L2 proficiency. The results indicate a significant development in L2 proficiency, from 10 to 15-year old, which can be attributed to a higher development of metalinguistic awareness in the L2. Also, the results indicate that metalinguistic awareness is an important factor in a learner's L2 proficiency overall. The results in this study cannot be used to say anything conclusive about whether or not the informants are transferring elements from their L1 to the L2, mainly because their metalinguistic awareness is too low to perform error-finding in the L2 consistently.