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ERIC Number: ED493519
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Jun-8
Pages: 95
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 37
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
The Accessibility of Universal Grammar in the Acquisition of Structure-Dependency in Persian Learners of English
Sadeghi, Sima
Online Submission
To what extent does Universal Grammar (UG) constrain second language (L2) acquisition? This is not only an empirical question, but one which is currently investigable. In this context, L2 acquisition is emerging as an important new domain of psycholinguistic research. Three logical possibilities have been articulated regarding the role of UG in L2 acquisition: the first is the No-Access hypothesis that no aspect of UG is available to the L2 learners. The second is the Partial-Access hypothesis that only L1-instantiated principles and L1-instantiated parameter values of UG are available to the learners. According to the third, called the Full-Access hypothesis, UG in its entirety constrains L2 acquisition. (Cook,1996.p:291) The research developments recommend the need for a reappraisal of the poverty of stimulus argument, focused on whether it can answer the conundrum of how a child may be able to learn aspects of linguistic structure for which innate knowledge was previously thought to be necessary (e.g:how do children learn aspects of their language for which there appears to be no evidence in the input). The researcher approached this question in the context of structure-dependence in language acquisition, specifically in relation to auxiliary fronting in interrogatives (the ability to form the correct interrogative out of declarative based on right movement when the sentence has an auxiliary verb within the subject NP, and thus the auxiliary that appears initially would not be the first auxiliary in the declarative, providing evidence for correct auxiliary fronting). The hypothesis was tested that second language (L2) acquisition is guided by UG. In other words, L2 learners also adopt the structure dependent yes/no question formation rule as in L1 acquisition. Persian learners of English in high school exposed to a series of training session in relative clause structure, were tested on recognition and use of relative clauses. It was assumed that learners can generate two types of errors: structure-independent and structure-dependent (henceforth called as: Learner Strategy Error, although the responses provided by the subjects were not true, but they did not violate structure-dependence principle too). They, then, were tested for their preference for structure-dependent versus structure-independent versions of the question formation rule. It was discovered that almost all of the subjects chose the structure dependent rule (22 out of 30), and just few of the subjects (8 persons) committed learner strategies errors (but non of them made structure-independent errors). It was concluded that the lack of structure-independent errors suggested that learners entertained only structure-dependent hypotheses, supporting the existence of innate grammatical structure. In this way, Results supported the hypothesis that L2 learners are guided by a UG principle (structure-dependence) in dealing with the yes/no question formation. Appended are: (1) Pre-Test Sample; (2) First Session Hand-Out; (3) Second Session Hand-Out; (4) Syntax Test; and (5) Question-Formation Test. (Contains 11 figures, 1 table, and 3 graphs.) [M.A. Thesis, Islamic Azad University of Bandar Abbas.]
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Masters Theses; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: N/A