Regressive Transfer from L4 German to L3 English: the Case of that-deletion

Mireia Llinas Grau*, Eloi Puig Mayenco

*Corresponding author for this work

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This study explores the notion of regressive transfer. This type of transfer has been suggested to occur when an L3/Ln is acquired assuming that a new system might have either a positive or negative effect on any previously acquired language. In this paper we aim at investigating whether regressive transfer is found in the non-native grammar of English as an L3 by L4 speakers of German. To do so, we conduct an investigation of the that-deletion phenomenon in L3 speakers of English with and without German as their L4. The phenomenon of that-deletion implies the omission of the complementizer that, which is allowed in both German and English and disallowed in the native languages of our subjects, Catalan and Spanish. Our aim is to see whether regressive transfer enhances the acquisition of the that-deletion phenomenon in L3 English.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGlancing Backwards To Build a Future in English Studies
EditorsA. Ibarrola-Armendariz, J. Ortiz de Urbina Arruabarrena
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • L3 English
  • L3/Ln acquisition
  • L4 German
  • Regressive transfer
  • that-deletion


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