Gender assignment and gender agreement in advanced French Interlanguage: a cross-sectional study
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An analysis of 519 gender errors (out of 9,378 modifiers) in the advanced French interlanguage of 27 Dutch L1 speakers conforms earlier findings that gender assignment and/or agreement remain problematic for learners at all levels. A hypothesis derived from Pienemann's Processability Theory (1998a) that accuracy rates would be higher for gender agreement in structures involving no exchange of grammatical information between constituents was not confirmed. The analysis of interindividual and intra-individual variation in gender accuracy rates revealed effects from avoidance and generalisation strategies, from linguistic variables, sociobiographical variables and psycholinguistic variables. We argue that gender errors can originate at the lemma level, at the gender node level, or at the lexeme level. Different psycholinguistic scenarios are presented to account for intra-individual variation in gender assignment and agreement.