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Second Language Acquisition and Universal Grammar

  • Lydia White (a1)
Abstract

In this article, the motivation for Universal Grammar (UG), as assumed in the principles and parameters framework of generative grammar (Chomsky, 1981a, 1981b), is discussed, particular attention being paid to the logical problem of first language acquisition. The potential role of UG in second language (L2) acquisition is then considered. Three different positions are reviewed: (a) the claim that UG is not available to L2 learners; (b) the claim that UG is fully available; and (c) the claim that the L2 learner's access to UG is mediated by the mother tongue. This raises the issue of what kind of evidence can be used to decide between these three positions. Recent experimental research which argues for one or another of these positions by investigating the L2 status of the Subjacency Principle is reviewed, and the implications of this research are discussed.

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Studies in Second Language Acquisition
  • ISSN: 0272-2631
  • EISSN: 1470-1545
  • URL: /core/journals/studies-in-second-language-acquisition
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