To teach or not to teach the ordering of adjectival modifiers in complex nominals?
Keywords:adjectival modifier, ordering of adjectival modifiers, complex nominal, Croatian as a second and foreign language
The paper presents an empirical study which aimed to investigate whether the speakers of Croatian as a Second and Foreign Language (CL2) make errors when ordering adjectival modifiers in complex nominals, e.g. sportska nova odlična majica ‘a sports new great t-shirt’ instead of odlična nova sportska majica ‘a great new sports t-shirt’. In the introductory part of the paper, a brief, theory driven overview of the structure of complex nominals in the Croatian language is presented, and the claims about the order of adjectival modifiers in such nominals are verified by corpus research. The hypothesis from which the research presented in this paper starts is that the CL2 speakers do not make errors when ordering adjectival modifiers in complex nominals. This is because the CL2 textbooks and teaching manuals do not explain the order of adjectival modifiers in complex nominals and CL2 instructors do not indicate that CL2 speakers make systematic errors. However, the results of the survey, which was conducted among CL2 speakers at A1.1 and B2.2 levels, show that CL2 speakers do make errors when ordering adjectival modifiers in complex nominals. Consequently, the paper concludes that they should be taught how to order adjectival modifiers in complex nominals. Considering the frequency of complex nominals with multiple adjectival modifiers, recommendations on how to teach these are presented in the final part of the paper.
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