Ellis, R. (1994). Second Language Acquisition. Shu-ing Shyu Ch 10 Linguistic Universal and SLA
Introduction • Two approaches toward the study of the language • Externalized (E) approach • Internalized (I) approach • Linguistic universals • Typological universals (Greenberg 1966; Hawkins 1983; Comrie 1984; Croft 1990) • Universal Grammar (Chomsky)
Interlanguage Theory: Another perspective • Adjemian (1976): interlanguages are ‘natural language’, subject to all the same constraints rule governed • ‘the grammatical nature of a learner’s IL’ rather than ‘strategies’ (1976: 306) • Interlanguage Structural Conformity Hypothesis (Eckman 1991: 24) • “The universal generalization that hold for the primary languages also hold for interlanguages.” • 11 adult Asians learning English • final stop + stop > fricative + stop (1991: 24)
Typological universals and SLA-1 • Absolute universals (implicational universals) • E.g. If a lg has a noun before a demonstrative, then it has a N before a RC (Hawkins 1983: 84). • If a lg is SOV, then if the adjective precedes the N, then the genitive precedes the N.’ • in one direction only • Universal tendencies (non-implicational universals) • Exceptions? How many can be tolerated?
Typological universals and SLA-2 • Implicational Universals: • NP Accessibility Hierarchy (NPAH) • Subj < DO < IO < oblique < genitive < object of comparative (Comrie & Keenan (1979)) • See table 10.1 (Jones 1991) • The grammatical function of the relative clauses in the matrix clause has various degree of difficulity. • 2. Markedness as relative phenomenon. Implicational universals presuppose a markedness relationship. • If a lg has property X also has property Y Y is unmarked in relation to X.
Typological universals and SLA-3 • Evidence to determine the level of markedness of specific linguistic features: • Structure: • Behavior: grammatical versatility (gender pronoun, active vs. passive) • Frequency:
Typologically motivated studies of SLA-1 • Qs: • What influence do typological universals have on the order of acquisition of grammatical features? • What effect does markedness have on learning difficulity? • How does the typological status of grammatical features in the native and target lgs affect L1 transfer?
Typologically motivated studies of SLA-2 • Negative Placement • Preverbal negation < postverbal negation (Dahl (1979)) • Wode (1984) preverbal negation appears in interlg, but not present in either L1 or L2. • absolute universal? • Preposition stranding and pied piping • Pied-piping < prep stranding (implicational universal) (Mazurkewich 1984; Bardovi-Harlig 1987) • Bardovi-Harlig (1987): markedness hypothesis is not tenable.
Typologically motivated studies of SLA-3 • Relativization • Does the Accessibility Hierarchy (AH) account for avoidance behavior? • Schachter (1974): left-branching lg speakers avoid using RCs in English • Gass (1980: 138): avoid relativizing on low positions in the AH He saw the woman who was kissed by the man. (OS) < He saw the woman that the man kissed. (OO) • Akagawa (1990): no support for AH in L1 Japanese speaking English as L2 mixed evidence • Does the AH explain the order of acquisition of relativizable NP positions? • Supporters: Gass (1980), Pavesi (1986), Eckman, Bell & Nelson (1988).
Typologically motivated studies of SLA-4 • Relativization • Does the AH explain the use of pronominal copies? • Support: Gass (1979; 1980), Hyltenstam (1984): markedness interacts with L1 transfer: whether or not pronominal copies occurred in the learners’ L1 • Against: Tarallo & Myhill (1983): • Does the AH explain the acquisition of the forms of different relativizers. • Hawkins (1989): predicted by the AH • Qui (S) < que (O)< don’t (Genetive) • Conclusion: • Markedness correlates with acquisition order • But: Tarallo & Myhill (1983), Hawkins (1989): Learners construct rules for RC on the basis of the adjacency of categories in the surface configuration.
Typologically motivated studies of SLA-5 • Limitations • Descriptive observations, rather than explanations • Levels other than syntax (e.g. discourse) are neglected.
Universal Grammar and SLA-1 • To address 3 Qs: • 1. What does UG consist of? • 2. What role does UG play in L1 acquisition? • 3. What should the domain of a theory of SLA be?
The Theory of UG-1 • Principles: underlines the grammatical rules of all lgs: • Configurationality, Subjacency, Case theory, etc. • Parameters: variations among lgs • two or more settings • Word order, pro-drop, etc. • Pro-drop properties:
The Theory of UG-2 • Markedness: UG provides a basis for determining markedness: • “core” and “periphery” features • White (1989a): markedness as internal to the L, vs. sth external, evident only in extant lgs (markedness in lg typology). • Zobl (1983): projection capacity • Markedness is understood in relation to the amount of primary linguistic evidence needed to acquire a given property • Evidence of one feature in a cluster may enable learners to acquire the other features associated with it, irrespective of whether they have experienced these features in the input.
UG and L1 Acquisition-1 • What is the nature of the child’s experience of the target lg? • The poverty of the stimulus • What does the LAD (Lg Acquisition Device) consist of?
The language faculty-1 • --UG ensures that relatively little evidence is needed for the child to determine that a given principle is operative in the TL or to decide which setting of a parameter is the right one • --UG prevents children from construction wild grammars (Goodluck 1986) • --errors can be unlearned on the basis of positive evidence • a lg is learnable because the child needs to entertain only a small subset of the hypotheses that are consistent w/ the input data.
The methodology of UG-based studies-1 • (1) how to ensure that the subjects have the requisite level of L2 proficiency to demonstrate whether or not a particular principle is operating in their interlanguage grammar. • (2) the need to rule out the effects of the L1 • direct access to UG • indirect access through their L1 • E.g. L1 (Chinese, Japanese, Korean) -Subjacency L2+Subjacency • in accordance w/ UG constraints provided by not through formal instruction
The methodology of UG-based studies-2 • (3) parameter setting: to establish which setting out of those possible is reflected in the learner’s interlanguage • bi-directional studies w/ control groups • L1 non-pro-drop-L2 pro-dropL1: • (English)-L2 (Spanish • pro-drop-L2 non-pro-dropL1) L1 • (Spanish)-L2 (English) • (4) Data collection: • elicited data have been preferred: • act-out tasks, picture identification task, sentence-joining, card-sorting tasks, • grammaticality judgment task-making metalingual assessment.
The methodology of UG-based studies-3 • UG-based SLA research: • experimental in nature: control and experiment groups, elicited data • have precise hypotheses about the nature of SLA • explanatory in nature (not the description of learner lg) • Problems: • Grammaticality judgment • Implicit or explicit knowledge? • Whether UG is alive or dead in the L2 learner • no clear evidence to support the hypotheses that learners acquire unmarked ‘core’ features before marked ‘peripheral’ features (e.g. dative alternation)
some empirical research-1 • Subjacency • Studies for the availability of UG • Richie (1978b) • rightward movement of PP • ‘*That a man has just passed by was not noticed in a car.’ • Japanese graduate students can judge it less grammatical linguistic universals are intact in the adult (1978b:43) • Bley-Vroman, Felix, and Ioup (1988) • 92 advanced Korean Ls of L2 English • grammaticality judgment • --response bias: reject Ss irrespective of grammatical of ungrammatical Ss • a reluctance to make use of ‘not sure’ • similar response pattern to NSs’ • UG is accessible to adult learners • White, Travis, and Maclachlan • Malagasy Learners of English • (subject extraction in wh- interroatives ok in Malagasy) • judgment test, a written elicited production task • nearly all high-intermediate Ls, 1/2 low-intermediate Ls reject Subjacency vio. • that Ls who accepted Ss violate Subjacency is because they had not reached a stage of syntactic development for the principle to become active (not acquired yet)
some empirical research-2 • Subjacency • Studies against the availability of UG • Schachter (1989) • L1: Korean (no Subjacency), Chinese (weak subjacency), Indonesian (has subjacency, but not in wh-movement) • English NS as controls; judgment test • different from NSs’ judgment • NSs passed both the syntax and the subjacency tests. • NNSs only passed the syntax tests. • Bley-Vroman et al.(1988:8) • ease of processing rather than UG • Schachter & Yip (1990) • processing effects
some empirical research-3 • Subjacency • Studies against the availability of UG • Schachter (1989) • Bley-Vroman et al.(1988:8) • Schachter & Yip (1990) • processing effects • “relative acceptability’ rather than ‘absolute obedience’ to UG • more types of data elicited, not just grammaticality judgment tasks
some empirical research-4 • The pro-drop parameter • parameter resetting • White (1985; 1986) • parameter resetting • L2 Ls opt for the L1 setting of the pro-drop P, as their proficiency increases they switch to the L2 setting • White (1985) --pro-drop features cluster in IL grammars? • L1: Spanish, French (1985,6)L1: Italian (1986)L2: English • Ss judgment task (missing expletives and pronouns subjects), some w/ ungrammatical S-V inversion, and a that-trace effect • Ellis’ critics: more reliable and valid data needed, not just judgment data • Spanish and Italian Ls inclined to accept subjectless Ss, different from the French. • Spanish Ls likely to accept that-trace than the French • NO difference in judgments of Ss w/ ungrammatical S-V inversion • L2 Ls don’t interact directly w/ L2 data, but initially transfer L1 setting • given time, reset L2 value • TL features may cluster in IL G
some empirical research-5 • The pro-drop parameter • parameter resetting • Hilles (1986) • Longitudinal data from Cancino et al. (1978) • L1: Spanish (only one 12-yr old Colombian) • L2: acquisition of English negatives and aux • Hypothesis 1: Jorge L1 (pro-drop) switch to L2 (null pro-drop) • Hypothesis 2: the switch co-occurs w/ the emergence of aux, triggered by the acquisition of expletive subject Support her two hypotheses • Hilles (1991) • Longitudinal data from Cancino et al. (1978) L1: 6 Spanish (2 children, 2 adolescents, 2 adults) • Q: to what extent the use of pronominal Ss and V inflection were correlated overtime? • 3 of the Ls (2 children, 1 adolescent) manifested a strong correlation b/w the emergence of pronominal Ss and V inflection • their acquisition guided by UG (mirror L1 acquisition) • other 3 Ls: no such correlation lack access to UG
some empirical research-6 • The pro-drop parameter • parameter resetting • Lakshmanan (1991) • Longitudinal data of 3 children (Marta in Cancino ea al.’s study, Muriel a French child in Gerbault 1978, Uguisu Japanese by Hakuta 1974) • support neither a ‘transfer’ nor a ‘developmental’ explanation • no unequivocal evidence in favor of the clustering effect Hilles reported • Phinney (1987) • Bidirectional study: English-speaking Ls of L2 Spanish, Spanish-speaking Ls of L2 English • written composition • L1 value transfer • no evidence of transfer
some empirical research-Summary • no real support for a parameter-setting model of SLA., no clear evidence of any clustering effects (Lakshmanan’s and Phinney’s) • Learning principles: (clearer results) • L2 learners do not follow the Subset Principle
Summary: • White: L2 Ls do not have access to learning principles like the Subset principle. They build a superset L2 G, often influenced by L1. They restructure this G, creating a subset G by negative E. • Testable hypotheses: • (1) L1 Ls will not make certain kinds of error whereas L2 Ls will Subset Principle operative in L1A • (2) L2 Ls with no access to negative evidence will fail to eliminate superset errors (not investigated) • (3) L2 Ls who receive formal instruction will eliminate errors. (received support: Ch. 14)
The logical problem of SLA • (i) SLA is essentially the same as for L1A • (ii) SLA is different because L2 learners achieve variable success • (iii) L2 competence is qualitatively different from L1 competence. • different views regarding the role of UG in SLA
Access to UG in SLA(Table 10.3) • The complete (direct) access view: Parameter-setting Model (Flynn 1984; 1987) • (2) No-access view: Clahsen and Muysken (1986; Meisel 1991) (the Fundamental Difference Hypothesis) • (3) Partial-access (indirect) view: Schachter (1988) (i.e. via L1) • (4) Dual access position: Felix (1985): Competition Model
The role of negative evidence • L1 Ls: negative evidence not available • L2 Ls: have access to both corrective feedback & explicit grammatical information • Negative evidence is beneficial to L2 learning • White (1991): Adv placement can be successfully learnt through formal instruction: • negative evidence triggers the resetting of a parameter to its L2 value • Schwartz (1986): negative evidence can result in the A of grammatical knowledge • Ellis: if UG exists to enable children to acquire grammatical competence solely on the basis of positive E, it is hardly felicitous to propose that L2 Ls can access parts of it with the help of negative evidence. (p. 457)