Syntactic transfer in the written English of Finnish students: Persistent grammar errors or acceptable lingua franca English?

Lea Meriläinen



This paper discusses syntactic L1 influence in the learner English of Finnish students in the light of the changed context for learning English in today’s Finland. Finns’ increased exposure to and use of English along with communicative language teaching methods have led to an improvement in some aspects of their English competence. However, the results of this study show that deviant L1-induced syntactic patterns in Finnish students’ written English during 1990-2005 have not decreased, which indicates that their mastery of these syntactic constructions has not improved. This implies that for learners whose L1 greatly diverges from the L2, informal learning and communicative language teaching methods alone may be insufficient for enhancing their L2 grammatical competence. The implications for English teaching will be discussed.

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Apples - Journal of Applied Language Studies