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ERIC Number: EJ1064622
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 21
ISSN: ISSN-1481-868X
Can the Pro-Drop Parameter Account for All the Errors in the Acquisition of Non-Referential "It" in L2 English?
Antonova-Ünlü, Elena
Canadian Journal of Applied Linguistics / Revue canadienne de linguistique appliquée, v18 n1 p21-41 2015
Numerous studies, examining the acquisition of non-referential it in [-pro-drop] English by learners of [+pro-drop] languages, have revealed that their participants omit non-referential subjects in English if their L1 allows null-subject position. However, due to the specificity of their focus, these studies have not considered other difficulties native speakers of [+pro-drop] languages might encounter when learning non-referential subjects in English settings and have given an impression that omission is the only error L2 learners make while acquiring non-referential subjects. The present study offers a detailed account of the acquisition of non-referential "it" by native speakers of [+pro-drop] Russian in a classroom setting, investigates which domains of use of non-referential "it" may cause difficulties for L1 speakers of [+pro-drop] Russian, and examines how error patterns related to the use of non-referential "it" change with further exposure to the English language. To this end, the data are collected from two groups of Russian students, fourth- and seventh-year learners of English, who are at the pre-intermediate and upper-intermediate levels of English. The participants were asked to undertake comprehension and production tests. Quantitative and qualitative analyses are used in the study. The findings show that all the participants have difficulties related to the use of non-referential "it," and error patterns made by the speakers of [+pro-drop] Russian are not limited to omissions of non-referential "it." Moreover, error patterns observed in the students' data differ significantly among the groups. While the pre-intermediate fourth-year English learners mostly rely on their L1 and make literal translations from Russian, the upper-intermediate seventh-year learners, by and large, have problems in distinguishing between non-referential "it" and "there" and, due to this, make numerous errors in some domains.
Canadian Association of Applied Linguistics / Association Canadienne de Linguistique Appliquée. Departement de langues, linguistique et traduction, Pavillon de Koninck, Universite Laval, Quebec, QC G1K 7P4, Canada. Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Russia (Moscow)