Multicompetence and native speaker variation in clausal packaging in Japanese

Amanda Brown, Marianne Gullberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Native speakers show systematic variation in a range of linguistic domains as a function of a variety of sociolinguistic variables. This article addresses native language variation in the context of multicompetence, i.e. knowledge of two languages in one mind (Cook, 1991). Descriptions of motion were elicited from functionally monolingual and non-monolingual speakers of Japanese, with analyses focusing on clausal packaging of Manner and Path. Results revealed that (1) acquisition of a second language (L2) appears to affect how speakers distribute information about motion in and across clauses in their first language (L1); (2) these effects can be seen with rather less knowledge of a second language than the advanced bilingual proficiency level typically studied; and (3) there appears to be little effect of L2 immersion in this domain since Japanese users of English as a second language (ESL) did not differ from Japanese users of English as a foreign language (EFL). We discuss the findings with respect to characterizations of emerging multicompetent grammars, and to implications for the construct of 'the native speaker', for language pedagogy and language assessment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)415-442
Number of pages28
JournalSecond Language Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2012


  • EFL
  • ESL
  • Japanese
  • Manner
  • Path
  • motion events
  • multicompetence
  • native language variation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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