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Order of adjectives and adverbs in L2 English: Evidence from L1 Acholi speakers of Ugandan English

Sarah Amarorwot, Bebwa Isingoma, Gulu University

Abstract: L2 Englishes are quintessentially characterized by cross-linguistic influence at all levels of linguistic analysis as a result of contact phenomena. This study examines the contribution of the syntax of a Ugandan indigenous language (Acholi) to how its L1 speakers speak English and the extent of variability observed among them, taking into account two grammatical aspects, i.e. how multiple attributive adjectives are sequenced in a noun phrase and the placement of adverbs in a sentence. The findings of the study show notable differences from L1 English (e.g. Standard British English), as L1 Acholi speakers of English do not necessarily pay attention to the prescribed L1 English order of adjectives. At the same time, the position of adverbs in a sentence also seems to be modeled, to some extent, on what takes place in Acholi syntax insofar as some legitimate L1 English structures are rejected by L1 Acholi speakers of English (as L2). Crucially, the study also reveals interspeaker variability among L1 Acholi speakers of English in Uganda based on occupation, with students being the closest to L1 English norms (as opposed to teachers and the business community), most likely due to exonormative orientation imposed on students in Ugandan schools.
Keywords: English / L1 Acholi speakers / linguistic / structures

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