Skip to main content
×
Home

Subject-to-subject raising and the syntax of tense in L2 Spanish: A Full Access approach*

  • GONZALO CAMPOS-DINTRANS (a1), ACRISIO PIRES (a2) and JASON ROTHMAN (a3)
Abstract

This paper investigates the acquisition of syntax in L2 grammars. We tested adult L2 speakers of Spanish (English L1) on the feature specification of T(ense), which is different in English and Spanish in so-called subject-to-subject raising structures. We present experimental results with the verb parecer “to seem/to appear” in different tenses, with and without experiencers, and with Tense Phrase (TP), verb phrase (vP) and Adjectival Phrase (AP) complements. The results show that advanced L2 learners can perform just like native Spanish speakers regarding grammatical knowledge in this domain, although the subtle differences between both languages are not explicitly taught. We argue that these results support Full Access approaches to Universal Grammar (UG) in L2 acquisition, by providing evidence that uninterpretable syntactic features can be learned in adult L2, even when such features are not directly instantiated in the same grammatical domain in the L1 grammar.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Gonzalo Campos-Dintrans, Modern Languages and Literatures Department, McMahon 402, Catholic University of America, Washington, DC 20064, USAcamposdintrans@cua.edu
Footnotes
Hide All
*

We would like to thank Sam Epstein and William Davies for their interest and suggestions regarding this paper, the audience at SLRF 2009, where the initial experimental results from this project were originally presented. We also thank Joshua Thoms, for help with data collection, Mike Iverson for help with the statistical analysis, and several anonymous reviewers whose suggestions led to improvements in the analysis presented in the paper. Any and all errors and oversights are inadvertent and entirely our own.

Footnotes
References
Hide All
Adger D. (2003). Core syntax. Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press.
Ausín A., & Depiante M. (2000). On the syntax of parecer (“to seem”) with and without an experiencer. In Campos H., Herburger E., Morales-Front A. & Walsh T. (eds.), Hispanic linguistics at the turn of the millennium, pp. 155170. Sommerville, MA: Cascadilla Press.
Birdsong D. (1999). Second language acquisition and the critical period hypothesis. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Bley-Vroman R. (1983). The comparative fallacy of interlanguage studies: The case of systematicity. Language Learning, 33, 117.
Chomsky N. (1986). Knowledge of language: Its nature, origin and use. London & New York: Praeger.
Chomsky N. (1995). The Minimalist Program. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Chomsky N. (2001). Derivation by phase. In Kenstowicz M., (ed.), Ken Hale: A life in language, pp. 152. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Chomsky N. (2007). Approaching UG from below. In Sauerland U. & Gaertner H.-M. (eds.), Interfaces + recursion = language: Chomsky's Minimalism and the view from syntax-semantics, pp. 129. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Chomsky N. (2008). On phases. In Freidin R., Otero C. & Zubizarreta M. L. (eds.), Foundational issues in linguistic theory: Essays in honor of Jean-Roger Vergnaud, pp. 133166. Cambridge MA: MIT Press.
Clahsen H., & Hong U. (1995). Agreement and null subjects in German L2 development: New evidence from reaction-time experiments. Second Language Research, 11, 5787.
Davies W., & Dubinsky S. (2004). The grammar of raising and control: A course in syntactic argumentation. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Duffield N., & White L. (1999). Assessing L2 knowledge of Spanish clitic placement: Converging methodologies. Second Language Research, 15, 133160.
Epstein S. D., Flynn S., & Martohardjono G. (1996). Second language acquisition: Theoretical and experimental issues in contemporary research. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 19, 677758.
Epstein S. D., Pires A., & Seely T. D. (2005). EPP in T: More controversial subjects. Syntax: A Journal of Theoretical, Experimental and Interdisciplinary Research, 8 (1), 6580.
Epstein S. D., & Seely T. D. (2006). Derivations in Minimalism: Exploring the elimination of A-chains and the EPP. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Goad H., & White L. (2006). Ultimate attainment in interlanguage grammar: A prosodic approach. Second Language Research, 22, 243268.
Goad H., White L., & Steele J. (2003). Missing inflection in L2 acquisition: Defective syntax or L1-constrained prosodic representations? The Canadian Journal of Linguistics/La Revue Canadienne de Linguistique, 48 (3–4), 243263.
Han Z. (2004). Fossilization in adult second language acquisition. Clevedon & Toronto: Multilingual Matters.
Hawkins R., & Hattori H. (2006). Interpretation of English multiple wh-questions by Japanese speakers: A missing uninterpretable feature account. Second Language Research, 22 (3), 269301.
Haznedar B., & Schwartz B. D. (1997). Are there optional infinitives in child L2 acquisition? In Hughes E. & Greenhill A. (eds.), Proceedings of the 21st Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development, pp. 257268. Sommerville, MA: Cascadilla Press.
Hirata I. (2006). Coordination, subject raising, and AgrP in Japanese. Linguistic Inquiry, 37 (2), 318329.
Hornstein N. (2003). On control. In Hendrick R. (ed.), Minimalist syntax, pp. 681. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Johnson J., & Newport S. (1989). Critical period effects in second language learning: The influence of maturational state on the acquisition of English as a second language. Cognitive Psychology, 21, 6099.
Kishimoto H. (2001). Binding of indeterminate pronouns and clause structure in Japanese. Linguistic Inquiry, 32, 597633.
Kitahara H. (1997). Elementary operations and optimal derivations. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Lardiere D. (2007). Ultimate attainment in second language acquisition: A case study. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Lasnik H. (1999). Minimalist analysis. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Long M. (2005). Problems with supposed counter-evidence to the Critical Period Hypothesis. IRAL: International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching, 43 (4), 287317.
Martin R. (1996). A Minimalist theory of PRO and control. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Connecticut, Storrs.
Meisel J. M. (1997). The acquisition of the syntax of negation in French and German: Contrasting first and second language development. Second Language Research, 13, 227263
Pérez-Leroux A. T., & Glass W. (1999). Null anaphora in Spanish second language acquisition: Probabilistic versus generative approaches. Second Language research, 15, 220249.
Pires A. (2006). The Minimalist syntax of defective domains: Gerunds and infinitives. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Prévost P., & White L. (2000). Missing surface inflection or impairment in second language acquisition? Evidence from tense and agreement. Second Language Research, 16 (2), 103133.
Rizzi L. (1990). Relativized Minimality. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Rothman J. (2008). Why not all counter-evidence to the critical period hypothesis is equal or problematic: Implications for SLA. Language and Linguistics Compass, 2 (6), 10631088.
Schwartz B. D., & Sprouse R. (1996). L2 cognitive states and the full transfer/full access model. Second Language Research, 12, 4072.
Schwartz B. D., & Sprouse R. (2000). When syntactic theories evolve: Consequences for L2 acquisition research. In Archibald J. (ed.), Second language acquisition and linguistic theory, pp. 156186. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Slabakova R. (2008). Meaning in the second language. Berlin & New York: DeGruyter
Torrego E. (1996). Experiencers and raising verbs. In Frieidin R. (ed.), Current issues in comparative grammar, pp. 101120. Dordrecht: Kluwer.
Torrego E. (1998). The dependencies of objects. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Tsimpli I. M. (2003). Interrogatives in the Greek/English interlanguage: A Minimalist account. In Mela-Athanasopoulou E. (ed.), Selected papers on theoretical and applied linguistics, pp. 214–25. Thessaloniki: Aristotle University.
Tsimpli I. M., & Dimitrakopoulou M. (2007). The interpretability hypothesis: Evidence from wh-interrogatives in second language acquisition. Second Language Research, 23 (2), 215242.
Vainikka A., & Young-Scholten M. (1994). Direct access to X′ Theory: Evidence from Korean and Turkish adults learning German. In Hoekstra T. & Schwartz B. D. (eds.), Language acquisition studies in generative grammar, pp. 265316. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
White L. (2003). Second language acquisition and Universal Grammar. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Bilingualism: Language and Cognition
  • ISSN: 1366-7289
  • EISSN: 1469-1841
  • URL: /core/journals/bilingualism-language-and-cognition
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 3
Total number of PDF views: 37 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 167 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 23rd November 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.