Interlanguage and Learnability

From Chinese to English

| Chinese University of Hong Kong
HardboundAvailable
ISBN 9789027224774 (Eur) | EUR 105.00
ISBN 9781556192494 (USA) | USD 158.00
 
e-Book
ISBN 9789027281739 | EUR 105.00 | USD 158.00
 
This book investigates a set of structures characteristic of Chinese speakers' English interlanguage (CIL) in the light of grammatical theory and principles of learnability. As a study of CIL grammar, it illuminates both the theory of interlanguage syntax in general and some specific problems in the acquisition of English by Chinese L1 learners. A set of interrelated structures are investigated, including topicalization, passive, ergative, “tough movement” and existential constructions. The interlanguage is approached through the comparative syntax of the relevant L1 and L2 constructions, combining insights from Chomskyan Universal Grammar and typological research. CIL proves to be permeable to Chinese typological influence and bears topic-prominent characteristics, while showing effects of language universals. A parallel theme of the book is the question of learnability in the context of second language acquisition. The Subset and Uniqueness Principles are adapted to the L2 context so as to account for learning difficulty as well as successful acquisition. Under-generation and over-generation of the interlanguage and target constructions give rise to learnability problems which are formulated in terms of set relations at the level of individual constructions. The Uniqueness Principle is invoked to motivate preemption of overgenerated forms. The interaction of syntax and semantics plays a crucial role in the formulation and resolution of these learnability problems. General conceptual issues raised by the Subset and Uniqueness Principles are also discussed.
[Language Acquisition and Language Disorders, 11]  1995.  xvi, 247 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments
xi
List of Abbreviations
xiii
List of Tables and Figures
xv
1. The Theory of Interlanguage
1
2. A Framework for Second Language Learnability
35
3. Comparative Typology and Learnability
73
4. Pseudo-passives: “These sentences can analyse many ways”
97
5. Ergative Constructions: “What is happened with these verbs?”
129
6. Tough Movement: “Never easy to be learned”
153
7. Existential Constructions and Indefinite Subjects: “There are sentences cause learnability problems”
175
8. Summary and Implications
203
Appendix A: Questionnaire on Pseudo-passives and Related Structures
217
Appendix B: Questionnaire on Ergative Verbs and Related Structures
219
Appendix C: Questionnaire on Tough-Movement and Related Structures
221
References
223
Index of Authors
239
Index of Subjects
243
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Subjects
BIC Subject: CF – Linguistics
BISAC Subject: LAN009000 – LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  95023743