Profiles

Niclas Abrahamsson

Niclas Abrahamsson

Professor

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Arbetar vid Institutionen för svenska och flerspråkighet
Telefon 08-16 39 19
E-post niclas.abrahamsson@biling.su.se
Besöksadress Universitetsvägen 10 D
Rum D 337
Postadress Institutionen för svenska och flerspråkighet 106 91 Stockholm

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Publikationer

I urval från Stockholms universitets publikationsdatabas
  • 2015. Katrin Stölten, Niclas Abrahamsson, Kenneth Hyltenstam. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 37 (1), 71-100

    As part of a research project on the investigation of second language (L2) ultimate attainment in 41 Spanish early and late near-native speakers of L2 Swedish, the present study reports on voice onset time (VOT) analyses of the production of Swedish word-initial voiceless stops, /p t k/. VOT is analyzed in milliseconds as well as in percentages of word duration, thereby accounting for speaking rate effects. The results revealed an overall age effect on VOT production; however, this age effect became salient and sta­tistically significant for all three stops only when speaking rate was taken into consider­ation. Similarly, when speaking rate was accounted for, only a small minority of the late learners exhibited actual nativelike L2 behavior, and most (but far from all) early learn­ers performed within native-speaker range. The results are taken as an indication for relative VOT, as opposed to absolute VOT, constituting a reliable measure of nativelike L2 stop production, which has important implications for future research on age effects and maturational constraints in L2 acquisition.

  • 2014. Katrin Stölten, Niclas Abrahamsson, Kenneth Hyltenstam. Language and Speech 57 (4), 425-450

    This study examined the effects of age of onset (AO) of L2 acquisition on the cate­gorical perception of the voicing contrast in Swedish word-initial stops varying in Voice Onset Time (VOT). Three voicing continua created on the basis of natural Swedish word pairs with /p–b/, /t–d/, /k–ɡ/ in initial position were presented to 41 Spanish early (AO < 12) and late (AO > 12) near-native speakers of L2 Swedish. 15 native speakers of Swedish served as controls. Categorizations were influenced by AO and listener status as L1/L2 speaker, in that the late learners deviated the most from native-speaker perception. In addition, only a small minority of the late learners perceived the voicing contrast in a way comparable to native-speaker cate­gorization, while most early L2 learners demonstrated nativelike categorization patterns. However, when the results were combined with the L2 learners’ produc­tion of Swedish voiceless stops (Stölten, 2005; Stölten, Abrahamsson & Hylten­stam, in press), nativelike production and perception was never found among the late learners, while a majority of the early learners still exhibited nativelike pro­duction and perception. It is concluded that, despite their being perceived as mother-tongue speakers of Swedish by native listeners, the late learners do not, after detailed phonetic scrutiny, exhibit a fully nativelike command of Swedish VOT. Consequently, being near-native rather than nativelike speakers of their second language, these individuals do not constitute the evidence necessary to reject the hypothesis of one or several critical (or sensitive) periods for language acquisition.

  • 2013. Emanuel Bylund, Kenneth Hyltenstam, Niclas Abrahamsson. Sensitive Periods, Language Aptitude, and Ultimate L2 Attainment, 69-101
  • 2013. Niclas Abrahamsson. Routledge Encyclopedia of Second Language Acquisition, 146-151
  • 2012. Niclas Abrahamsson. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 34 (2), 187-214

    Research has consistently shown there is a negative correlation between age of onset (AO) of acquisition and ultimate attainment (UA) of either pronunciation or grammar in a second language (L2). A few studies have indeed reported nativelike behavior in some postpuberty learners with respect to either phonetics/phonology or morphosyntax, a result that has sometimes been taken as evidence against the critical period hypothesis (CPH). However, in the few studies that have employed a wide range of linguistic tests and tasks, adult learners have not exhibited nativelike L2 proficiency across the board of measures, which, according to some, suggests that the hypothesis still holds. The present study investigated the relationship between AO and UA and the incidence of nativelikeness when measures of phonetic and grammatical intuition are combined. An additional aim was to investigate whether children and adults develop the L2 through fundamentally different brain mechanisms-namely, whether children acquire the language (more) implicitly as an interdependent whole, whereas adults learn it (more) explicitly as independent parts of a whole.

  • 2012. Emanuel Spångberg Bylund, Niclas Abrahamsson, Kenneth Hyltenstam. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 34 (2), 215-241

    Within the field of SLA, the incidence of nativelikeness in second language (L2) speakers has typically been explained as a function of age of acquisition. An alternative interpretation, however, is that L2 learners do not attain nativelike proficiency because of first language (L1) maintenance. This interpretation has nevertheless remained mostly theoretical due to the lack of empirical evidence. This study sets out to address the role of L1 proficiency in L2 ultimate attainment by examining L1 and L2 proficiency in 30 early L1 Spanish-L2 Swedish bilinguals. Language proficiency was assessed through grammaticality judgment tests and cloze tests, and additional data on language aptitude were collected through the Swansea Language Aptitude Test (v. 2.0; Meara, Milton, & Lorenzo-Dus, 2002). The results showed positive correlations between nativelike L1 and L2 behavior. Additionally, it was found that language aptitude was positively correlated with nativelike L1 and L2 performance. In view of these findings, it is suggested that (a) L1 maintenance does not hamper L2 nativelikeness and (b) language aptitude is an important factor for bilingual ultimate attainment.

  • 2012. Niclas Abrahamsson, Kenneth Hyltenstam.
  • 2012. Niclas Abrahamsson. The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics
  • 2010. Emanuel Bylund, Niclas Abrahamsson, Kenneth Hyltenstam. Applied Linguistics 31 (3), 443-464

    While language aptitude has been investigated actively within second language research, there is a current dearth of research on the effects of aptitude in cases of attrition. The aim of the present investigation was to explore the role of language aptitude for L1 proficiency in speakers who experienced a break with their L1 setting prior to puberty. Twenty-five L1 SpanishL2 Swedish bilinguals residing in Sweden participated in the study, and 15 native speakers of Spanish living in Chile were recruited as controls. The L1 proficiency was measured by means of a grammaticality judgement test (GJT) and language aptitude data were obtained through the Swansea Language Aptitude Test (Meara et al. <xref ref-type="bibr" rid="B36">2003</xref>). Results showed a positive correlation between GJT performance and language aptitude. More specifically, the bilinguals with above-average aptitude were more likely to score within the native range on the GJT than those with below-average aptitude. It was also seen that among the participants with below-average aptitude, GJT scores were related to daily L1 use. In view of these findings, we suggest that language aptitude has a compensatory function in language attrition, helping the attriter to retain a high level of L1 proficiency despite reduced L1 contact.

  • 2009. Niclas Abrahamsson, Kenneth Hyltenstam. Language learning 59 (2), 249-306
  • 2009. Niclas Abrahamsson.

    Denna grundbok belyser fenomenet, ämnet och forskningsfältet andraspråksinlärning. Med utgångspunkt i 1960-talets brytning med behavioristisk inlärningspsykologi och kontrastiv språkanalys diskuteras de mest centrala frågeställningarna inom den därefter följande moderna, mentalistiskt orienterade andraspråksforskningen.

    I bokens tio kapitel presenteras de huvudsakliga empiriska upptäckterna och teorierna om andraspråkets utveckling och variation, dess kognition, processning och universella egenskaper, liksom inflödets, interaktionens och undervisningens roll, effekter av sociala och individuella skillnader samt modersmålets inverkan. Många exempel ges från studier av svenska som andraspråk. Boken avslutas med en termordlista med förklaringar till centrala begrepp inom fältet.

    Boken vänder sig främst till universitetsstuderande på grundnivå i ämnen som tvåspråkighet, svenska och nordiska språk samt till blivande och verksamma lärare i svenska som andraspråk och modersmålssvenska.

  • 2009. Kenneth Hyltenstam (et al.). Bilingualism 12 (2), 121-140

    This article challenges a recent proposal for the theoretical interpretation of L1 and L2 interaction that results from the abrupt change of language environment in internationally adopted children. According to this proposal (Pallier, Dehaene, Poline, LeBihan, Argenti, Depoux and Mehler, 2003; Ventureyra, Pallier and Yoo, 2004), such children experience a total loss of their L1, while, as adults, they exhibit a nativelike ultimate attainment of their L2. These authors suggest that what they see as a total loss of L1 allows a resetting of the neural network that normally subserves L1 retention and hence permits a complete acquisition of the L2. Data from two of our own research projects, one on L1 remnants in Korean adoptees in Sweden (see Park, forthcoming), and the other on age of acquisition and ultimate L2 attainment of Swedish (see Abrahamsson and Hyltenstam, in press), which included data from Latin American adoptees in Sweden among other participants, suggest (i) that L1 remnants are indeed maintained, (ii) that L2 attainment is not enhanced by severe L1 attrition, and (iii) that there is an age dimension to both the degree of L1 attrition and the level of L2 ultimate attainment in international adoptees. We therefore contend that a maturational interpretation of language replacement data is preferable.

  • 2008. Niclas Abrahamsson, Kenneth Hyltenstam. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 30 (4), 481-509

    Results from a number of recent studies suggest that nativelike adult second language (L2) learners possess a high degree of language learning aptitude, the positive effects of which may have compensated for the negative effects of a critical period in these learners. According to the same studies, child learners seem to attain a nativelike command of the L2 regardless of high or low aptitude, which has led researchers to conclude that this factor plays no role in early acquisition. The present study investigates the L2 proficiency and language aptitude of 42 near-native L2 speakers of Swedish (i.e., individuals whom actual mother-tongue speakers of Swedish believe are native speakers). The results confirm previous research suggesting that a high degree of language aptitude is required if adult learners are to reach a L2 proficiency that is indistinguishable from that of native speakers. However, in contrast to previous studies, the present results also identify small yet significant aptitude effects in child SLA. Our findings lead us to the conclusions that the rare nativelike adult learners sometimes observed would all turn out to be exceptionally talented language learners with an unusual ability to compensate for maturational effects and, consequently, that their nativelikeness per se does not constitute a reason to reject the critical period hypothesis.

Visa alla publikationer av Niclas Abrahamsson vid Stockholms universitet

Senast uppdaterad: 28 augusti 2017

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