The aim of this article is to discuss the role of input characteristics in the development of French verb morphology. From a usage-based perspective, several cognitive and linguistic factors contribute to the ease or difficulty of processing input in L2 acquisition. This article concentrates on frequency, salience, and form–function association, factors that might influence what aspects of input are available to the learners’ attention. A presentation of French verb morphology from this perspective shows how these factors can contribute to the use of the regular -er
verb paradigm as a default. A review of empirical studies confirms the influence of input characteristics. The results suggest that the dominant pattern of regular verbs and the scarcity of salient clues from irregular verbs contribute to the specificity of L2 French development. The conclusion addresses the question of enriching L2 classroom input with irregular verbs. Such an input could facilitate the perception of form–function association, and thus, contribute to a more efficient development of French verb morphology. The article concludes by suggesting other ways of studying the influence of input as well as avenues for future research.
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