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ERIC Number: ED362023
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1993-Mar-1
Pages: 14
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The Responsibility of Linguistic Theory to Second Language Acquisition Data.
MacLaughlin, Dawn
This paper focuses on second language (L2) acquisition, and the extent to which Universal Grammar (UG) accounts for second language learners' behavior. A comparison of L2 research, especially research conducted within the UG framework, with first language (L1) research, reveals a striking difference in the evaluation of L2 results: while L1 acquisition data is used to influence linguistic theory, L2 data are rarely, if ever, used to influence linguistic theory. Anaphoric binding is described to illustrate the importance of a bidirectional, rather than unidirectional view of L2 research. Theoretical assumptions behind the binding theory research of Hirakawa (1990) and Finer (1991) are identified: (1) anaphoric binding involves a parameter whose values generate languages in a subset relation; (2) the Subset Principle should guide the learner in acquiring this parameter, so that the smallest value compatible with the data is adopted; and (3) negative evidence is not useable in L2 acquisition. It is shown that experimental results from L2 learners of English with Japanese speakers studied by Hirakawa (1990) and with Korean, Japanese, and Hindi speakers studied by Finer (1991), in combination with their theoretical assumptions, lead to a sequence of acquisition that is predicted to be impossible. However, adopting an alternative binding theory, one that assumes a bidirectional view of the observed acquisition sequence, removes the paradox presented by the L2 acquisition data. (Contains 24 references.) (JP)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A