Knowledge of Reflexives in a Second Language

ORCID logoMargaret Thomas | Boston College
ISBN 9789027224699 (Eur) | EUR 99.00
ISBN 9781556192418 (USA) | USD 149.00
ISBN 9789027281760 | EUR 99.00 | USD 149.00
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This study addresses the debate about whether adult language learners have access to the principles and parameters of universal grammar in constructing the grammar of a second language. The data are based on two related experiments. The first examines the interpretation of English reflexive pronouns by native speakers of Japanese and of Spanish. The second experiment examines the interpretation of the Japanese reflexive zibun by native speakers of English and of Chinese. Three hypotheses are evaluated: (a) that UG is unavailable, and that processing strategies or other non-linguistic principles guide second language acquisition; (b) that UG is available only in the form in which it is instantiated in the learner's native language; (c) that UG is fully available, including the ability to re-set parameters to UG-sanctioned values not instantiated in the learner's native language. The results show that learners observe constraints defined by Manzini and Wexler's parameterized version of Principle A of the binding theory and support the proposal that adult learners have access to universal grammar. A final chapter reviews the experimental data in the light of recent accounts of cross-linguistic variation in the grammar of anaphors which reject parameterization of the binding principles in favor of a “movement to INFL” analysis.
Publishing status: Available
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Cited by

Cited by 16 other publications

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Main BIC Subject

CF: Linguistics

Main BISAC Subject

LAN009000: LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
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U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  93008483 | Marc record