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ERIC Number: EJ885351
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 42
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0267-6583
Domain-Wide or Variable-Dependent Vulnerability of the Semantics-Syntax Interface in L2 Acquisition? Evidence from "Wh"-Words Used as Existential Polarity Words in L2 Chinese Grammars
Yuan, Boping
Second Language Research, v26 n2 p219-260 2010
Most studies in the second language (L2) literature that deal with interface issues do so in holistic terms. On the one hand, researchers have suggested that interface relations between the syntax and other domains are particularly difficult for adult L2 learners. On the other, it has been argued that such relations can be established in a native-like way, even when no clear positive evidence is readily available in the input. In both cases researchers have treated the issue in a domain-wide fashion. However, the domain-wide approach is not supported by the study reported in this article, which examines the role of the semantics-syntax interface in the representation of "wh"-words as existential polarity words (EPWs) in the L2 Chinese grammars of English and Japanese speakers. The results suggest that the semantics-syntax interface can be established between the EPWs and some of their potential licensers in L2 Chinese grammars, but not others. This indicates that L2 learners' success or failure in acquiring the interface is not domain-wide. A variable-dependent account is proposed for the results, arguing that success or failure in establishing interface relations in L2 grammars is likely to depend on a number of variables, including the categorial nature of individual elements involved in the interface relationship, the status of these elements in the target language speaker's grammar, the input that learners are exposed to, and cross-linguistic influence. (Contains 12 tables, 3 figures and 18 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Japan; United Kingdom