Processability Theory applied to written and spoken L2 Swedish

Gisela Håkansson, Catrin Norrby

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter


This study investigates grammatical development in foreign and second language learners of Swedish. The hypothesis is that the hierarchy of processability predicted by Processability Theory (Pienemann 1998) guides both written and spoken learner production. The data was collected from 9 foreign language learners studying Swedish at Melbourne University and 11 second language learners studying Swedish at Malmö University, Sweden. The written data was collected twice over an eight months period, and the oral data was collected once at the end of the language course. Specific syntactic and morphological structures were elicited in both data sets. The results showed that both learner groups developed the target structures as predicted by Processability Theory (PT). Most learners performed at the same PT level in writing and speech, but some structures occurred more frequently in writing. The results show that the planning time that is used in writing does not influence grammatical processability (e.g. Swedish subordinate clause word order). However, the lack of contexts for certain structures suggests that monitoring has an influence on language complexity (e.g. subordination).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSecond language acquisition research: theory-construction and testing
EditorsFethi Mansouri
PublisherCambridge Scholars Publishing
ISBN (Print)1-84718-051-5
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Bibliographical note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015.
The record was previously connected to the following departments: Linguistics and Phonetics (015010003)

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • General Language Studies and Linguistics


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