L3 Acquisition of European Portuguese Clefts by L1-Mandarin L2-English Speakers

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


This study explored the acquisition of Portuguese ´e-que clefts (EC), standard clefts (SC), and pseudoclefts (PSC) by late L3 learners. Neither the learners’ L1 nor L2 display any equivalent of ECs, which are highly frequent in L1ers’ spontaneous speech. SCs and it-clefts of L2 English share resemblance in dislocating the clefted constituent, while the equivalent in L1 does not support the movement of the clefted object. PSCs in the three languages share a similar underlying structure. An acceptability judgment task showed that SCs were welcomed across proficiency levels, surpassing the acceptance rate of PSCs. ECs were generally rejected by the intermediate groups. The results corroborate a possible facilitating L2 effect, contradicting the L1 factor. The syntactic structure of SCs could be mapped from L2 onto L3 lexical items before L3ers reaching B1, while the association of [+ focus] feature to the ´e-que expression may cause
difficulty acquiring ECs till C1.
Period1 Oct 2021
Event titleVirtual Workshop on L3 Development After the Initial State
Event typeWorkshop
LocationUnited StatesShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Third language acquisition
  • Syntax
  • Cleft structures
  • European Portuguese
  • Mandarin Chinese