Raquel Fernández Fuertes
Raquel Fernández Fuertes


Length of exposure to the second/foreign language (L2) and the type of (explicit) instruction used in the L2 classroom have been said to shape L2 attainment.

In this talk, we will examine child L2 English oral experimental production to address the role that explicit instruction and length of exposure have in L2 attainment. The focus will be on English noun-noun compounds (NNs), which differ in terms of productivity and word-order configuration when compared to Spanish (the participants’ L1). NNs are right-headed and productive in English (e.g., pirate ship, paper plane), while they are left-headed and non-productive in Spanish where alternative structures are used (e.g., barco pirata, avión de papel). Despite these differences, English NNs are seldom included in the L2 English curriculum in the Spanish context (e.g., Gómez Garzarán & Fernández Fuertes 2020, Fernández Fuertes et al. 2022).

In this presentation, we will analyze data from four child L1 Spanish-L2 English groups: two groups that have been involved in a program with explicit NN instruction (a 9-year-old and an 11-year-old group); and two groups (same ages) that have followed the regular instruction program, which does not include NN explicit instruction. Data elicitation has been carried out via an oral free production task (a director-matcher task simulating a board game).

Results show that (i) explicit instruction has a positive effect (e.g., Norris & Ortega 2000, de Graaff & Housen 2009, Spada & Tomita 2010) since both the rate of production and the rate of correctness are higher in the NN instruction group; and that (ii) length of exposure also has a similar effect that is accentuated when combined with explicit instruction. That is, explicit instruction accelerates L2 attainment of English NNs. This has a double implication: on the one hand, explicit teaching of grammatical properties is effective and, on the other hand, the properties of English NNs can actually be learned.

Raquel Fernández Fuertes

Professor Raquel Fernández Fuertes

University of Valladolid, Language Acquisition Lab

Raquel Fernández Fuertes is an associate professor in the Department of English at the University of Valladolid (Spain) and the director of the UVALAL research group (University of Valladolid Language Acquisition Lab). She specializes in linguistic theory, comparative grammar and bilingual acquisition. In her research, she makes use of linguistic theory and, in particular, of minimalist premises, to account for language-contact phenomena and the latent relationship between native and non-native acquisition. This is achieved by the analyses of spontaneous and experimental data elicited via different methodologies.

If you need any accommodations, please contact us at the following address: [email protected].
Date and time
Nov 21, 2023
10 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.
Format and location
Virtual, In person
Hamelin Hall, Room 509
Q&A in English, French and Spanish.
Faculty and staff, Alumni, General public, Researchers, Graduate students
Organized by
CCERBAL, Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute
The Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute and its CCERBAL Research Centre in collaboration with the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures and the Language Acquisition Research Laboratory, University of Ottawa.