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ERIC Number: ED353835
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992
Pages: 15
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0959-2253
Asymmetric Resetting of the Non-Empty Topic Parameter by Chinese-Speaking Learners of English.
Yuan, Boping
Edinburgh Working Papers in Linguistics, n3 p1-13 1992
This paper reports on a pilot study examining how Chinese-speaking learners of English reset the non-empty topic [-Te] parameter. Whereas Chinese allows empty topics coindexed with variables in both subject and object positions, English does not. With respect to this particular parameter, Chinese can be said to form a superset of English as the grammar of the former is more general than the latter. The results obtained in this study suggest that the Subset Principle does not apply in second language acquisition and that second language learners transfer the first language setting to the second language grammar. However, the transfer is asymmetric and selective; even advanced subjects have more difficulty in detecting the ungrammaticality of the variable coindexed with the empty topic in the object position than in the subject position. It is argued that this asymmetry is the effect of Universal Grammar in the learners' interlanguage grammars in combination with their parsing ability. (Contains 14 references.) (Author/JL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Journal Articles
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A