Malin ÅgrenSenior Lecturer
Research areas and keywords
- Language acquisition, Second Language Acquisition, French, Morphosyntax, Language teaching, Didactics, Linguistics, Educational research
In my research, I study the second/foreign language acquisition of French in Swedish learners. I am mainly interested in the development of the morphosyntax in spoken and written French and the underlying factors that influence the linguistic development in this domain.
In my Ph.D thesis I investigated the development of silent plural morhology in written L2 French of Swedish high school learners. My results showed that the development of written morphology is gradual (and fast) and that it follows a certain developmental pattern, just as the spoken language development. I also investigated how different linguistic factors (regularity, saliency, frequency, etc) and psycholinguistic factors (processing) contribute to the developmental pattern observed in the written L2 data.
A a post-doc researcher, I worked in a project where we studied the language development of French in very young Swedish second language learners. We followed Swedish children that entered a French school at the age of three to six years and we studied their morphosyntactic development over time. The linguistic development in the L2 children was compared to that of simultaneous bilinguals (French/Swedish) and monolingual French children at the same school. We also investigated in what domains the language development of these children differed and/or ressembled that of adult second language learners of French, as known from previous research.
When it comes to morphosyntax, spoken and written French are clearly distinct from one another and they are often considered as two distinct linguistic systems. When French is learnt as a second language, these two modes of language are acquired in parallel from the first day of exposure to the target language. In a second post-doc project, I investigated the simultaneous development of spoken and written French in adult L2 learners and analyzed how the two modes interact and affect each other during the language acquisition process.
In my current work, I participate in several research groups related to the L2 acquisition of French. In an international project investigating the L2 acquisition of French verb morphology, we compare the acquisition process in learner groups with different first languages (Finnish, Swedish, Dutch, German, Italian and Japanese). Furthermore, in cooperation with professor Jonas Granfeldt, I am conducting research relating language acquisition and language teaching. We have recently published some work on the use of the computer program Direkt Profil for evaluation purposes in the L2 French classroom. Finally, I'm one of six researchers in the TAL project (Learning, Teaching and Assessment of Second Foreign languages in the Swedish school context), funded by the Swedish Research Council (2016-2018). In this reseach project we examine interactions between learning, teaching and assessment of second foreign languages (SFL) in order to gain a better understanding of conditions and learning outcomes in foreign languages other than English in the Swedish school context. The focus is on Spanish, French and German in the 9th grade of secondary school and on an essential but under-researched aspect of SFL competence, namely oral language proficiency (OLP).