Feature Resetting in Second Language Acquisition: A Pilot Study

Mona-Luiza , Ungureanu (2012) Feature Resetting in Second Language Acquisition: A Pilot Study. In: 2nd International Conference on Foreign Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics (FLTAL’12), 4-6 May 2012, Sarajevo.

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Abstract

This presentation reports the results of a small pilot study that tests the second language acquisition (SLA) of features associated with a functional category: the accusative clitic in accusative clitic doubling constructions, as in (1). The second language (L2) is Spanish and the first language (L1) is Romanian. (1) Todos lo felicitan al professor por su conferencia Everyone cl.acc/3/sg/m congratulate to/PPthe professor for his lecture ‘Everyone congratulates the professor for his lecture’ Both languages have clitics; hence, no predictions are made about the acquisition of clitics. Rather, the study centers on the features associated with the accusative clitic in accusative clitic doubling constructions. In Romanian, the clitic is associated with a [+human] [+specific] nominal, while in Spanish the clitic is associated with a [+animate] [+definite] [specific] nominal. It is this distinction in features between the two languages that is considered here. Along with the No Impairment Hypothesis, I show that features of functional categories can be reset: second language learners can acquire feature values of functional categories. In opposition, under the Failed Features Hypothesis, acquisition is restricted to L1 parameters; inter language (IL) grammars are characterized by the use of L1 functional categories, features and feature values; and L2 learners do not acquire L2 functional categories, their features, or their feature values. Moreover, the Local Impairment Hypothesis argues that functional categories are acquired but their feature values are underspecified, resulting in a grammar that is unlike L1 and L2. This study shows that the features relevant to accusative clitic doubling are reset in L2. Since our focus is on ultimate attainment of feature values, the successful acquisition of L2 features by even one learner proves that feature values are reset, resulting in an IL that is similar to L2. Thus, L2 learners have unimpaired access to parameters of Universal Grammar.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Depositing User: Mr. IT Center Editor
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2012 11:36
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2012 11:36
URI: http://eprints.ibu.edu.ba/id/eprint/977

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