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Selective Fossilization Hypothesis: Principles and Application (Aicha Rahal, University of Gafsa, Tunisia)

9:00 AM, Thursday 29 Apr 2021 EDT (30 minutes)
  Virtual session
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Aicha Rahal, University of Gafsa, Tunisia

Title: Selective Fossilization Hypothesis: Principles and Application

Keywords: Fossilization; SFH; L1 markedness; L2 robustness


Selinker (1972) brought the concept of fossilization to the fore. Fossilization is a founding concept in second language acquisition (Han, 2013). It is defined as “the permanent cessation of IL learning before the learner has attained target language norms at all levels of linguistic structure and in all discourse domains in spite of the learner’s positive ability, opportunity or motivation to learn or acculturate into target society” (Selinker & Lamendella, 1978). The questions of how to study and test the potentially fossilizable linguistic features have spurred attentions among researchers. Han (2013) investigates and evaluates fossilization research carried out over the last forty years and she updates fossilization hypotheses and introduces the Selective Fossilization Hypothesis (SFH) to the field. This hypothesis is used to test the predictive power of a personally developed L1 Markedness and L2 Robustness rating scale. This presentation will focus on Han’s (2009) hypothesis and its application. It will be divided into two main parts. In the first part, I will start with giving an overview of the theory of Interlanguage and the phenomenon of fossilization. The discussion then turns to the central concern of the paper. It will present SFH. The second part will deal with how to apply this hypothesis. I will lean on the findings of my MA dissertation to try to use Han’s model to analyze the obtained fossilized phonetic errors in relation to L1 markedness and L2 robustness.