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ERIC Number: EJ890062
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jul
Pages: 33
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 74
ISSN: ISSN-0267-6583
Recovery from First-Language Transfer: The Second Language Acquisition of English Double Objects by Korean Speakers
Oh, Eunjeong
Second Language Research, v26 n3 p407-439 Jul 2010
Previous studies on second language (L2) acquisition of English dative alternation by Korean speakers (Oh and Zubizarreta, 2003, 2006a, 2006b) have shown that the acquisition of English benefactive double object (DO) (e.g. "John baked Mary a cake") lags behind that of its counterpart goal double object (e.g. "John sent Mary the letter"). This asymmetry was attributed to grammatical differences between English and Korean benefactive DOs; goal DOs in the two languages have similar grammatical properties. Given the negative first language (L1) influence attested in the acquisition of English DOs by Korean speakers, this article examines the recovery process from these negative effects of L1 transfer and the triggering factors in such a process by investigating L2 learners' knowledge of semantic properties pertinent to English DOs, using an Acceptability Judgment task with contexts. The present study found that most advanced learners are indeed capable of acquiring semantic properties of both types of English DOs, restructuring their interlanguage grammar in such a way that both types of DOs denote prospective possession. This article suggests that acquisition of the semantics of goal DOs, possibly attributed to L1 transfer, bootstraps acquisition of the semantics of benefactive DOs, and that this generalization from goal DOs to benefactive DOs is made possible by the surface generalization hypothesis (Goldberg, 2002), which states that argument structure patterns sharing the surface forms should be analysed on their own as a class. Furthermore, this article argues that this recovery process can be interpreted as evidence of a tie between syntax and semantics: developing sensitivity to the semantics of English DOs is indispensable for acquiring the syntax of English DOs (compare Lardiere, 2000; Slabakova, 2006). On this view, learning a construction essentially means learning its associated semantics, and acquisition of the syntax of a construction is a consequence of acquisition of the semantics of the construction. (Contains 19 notes, 6 tables, and 2 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A