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ERIC Number: ED358720
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1989
Pages: 15
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The Governing Category Parameter in Second Language Acquisition.
Hirakawa, Makiko
This experimental study examined how and to what extent native speakers of Japanese acquire syntactic properties of English reflexives. There is emphasis on the effects of the Governing Category Parameter (Wexler and Manzini, 1987), which relates to Principle A of the Binding Theory (Chomsky, 1981). It is hypothesized that second language (L2) learners are still constrained by Universal Grammar (UG), despite the influence of the parameter setting of their native language as well as the non-operation of the Subset Principle. Experimental groups consisted of 13 15- and 16-year old high school students, 14 16- and 17-year high school students, 18 17- and 18-year old high school students, and 20 18- and 19-year old college students. Twenty-two native speakers of Japanese (aged 17-18 years) and 20 native speakers of English (aged 17-19 years) served as control groups. Subjects responded to a preliminary test and a test on reflexives that used a multiple-choice grammaticality judgment task. Findings show that L2 learners transfer their L1 parameter setting and consequently make errors in the choice of antecedents for reflexives. Subjects' errors are explained if it is assumed that they transferred their L1 value for the Governing Category Parameter. Results argue against the idea that UG is not involved in L2 acquisition. Test sentences on reflexives are appended. Contains 21 references. (JP)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A