Learnability and the Lexicon

Theories and second language acquisition research

| University of Pittsburgh
HardboundAvailable
ISBN 9789027224781 (Eur) | EUR 105.00
ISBN 9781556197758 (USA) | USD 158.00
 
e-Book
ISBN 9789027285645 | EUR 105.00 | USD 158.00
 
This book provides a critical review of recent theories of semantics-syntax correspondences and makes new proposals for constraints on semantic structure relevant to syntax. Data from several languages are presented which suggest that semantic structure in root morphemes is subject to parametric variation which has effect across a variety of verb classes, including locatives, unaccusatives, and psych verbs.

The implications for first and second language acquisition are discussed. In particular, it is suggested that different parametric settings may lead to a learnability problem if adult learners do not retain access to sensitivity to underlying semantic organization and morphological differences between languages provided by Universal Grammar.

An experiment with Chinese-speaking learners of English is presented which shows that learners initially transfer L1 semantic organization to the L2, but are able to retreat from overgeneralisations and achieve native-like grammars in this area.

Suggestions for further research in this rapidly developing area of theory and acquisition research are also made.

[Language Acquisition and Language Disorders, 12]  1996.  xi, 277 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments
xiii
1. Linguistic Theory, Language Acquisition, and the lexicon
1
2. Generative approaches to semantic-syntax correspondences
32
3. Semantic structure: crosslinguistic patterns and constraints
76
4. Acquiring Semantic-Syntax Correspondences
128
5. Testing knowledge of semantic-syntax correspondences in a second language
169
6. Analysis and discussion
205
7. Epilogue
230
References
237
Appendix I: English Locative Verbs
253
Appendix II: Chinese Locative Verbs and Arguments Structures
255
Appendix III: Test of Verb Meanings
259
Appendix IV: Production task
261
Appendix V: Grammaticality Judgement Task
262
Index
267
“This book is the first and so far most comprehensive study of the acquisition of argument structure in a second language within a generative framework. It is a fascinating window into the cognitive processes of L2 acquisition. It should find a place on the shelves of anyone interested in the relationship between linguistics and language acquisition.”
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Subjects
BIC Subject: CF – Linguistics
BISAC Subject: LAN009000 – LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  96000855