Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

TRANSITIVITY ALTERNATIONS AND SEQUENCE LEARNING: INSIGHTS FROM L2 SPANISH PRODUCTION DATA

  • Eve Zyzik (a1)
Abstract

This article examines alternating verbs (such as quemar(se) “to burn”) in second language (L2) Spanish by considering the learnability problem from a sequence learning perspective (N. Ellis, 1996, 2002). In Spanish, verbs of the alternating class are obligatorily marked with the clitic se in their intransitive form. Errors of omission among English-speaking learners, who transfer zero-derived morphology from their native language, have been previously documented (Montrul, 2000). This study also examines a different kind of error—overgeneralization of se to transitive event scenes—that is hypothesized to result from chunking se with particular lexical items. The results of a picture description task reveal that learners frequently make this type of overgeneralization error, but that they are able to recover from it at more advanced levels of proficiency. These findings suggest that the acquisition of L2 morphosyntax is shaped by learners' familiarity with individual lexical items and the sequences in which they tend to appear.This study forms part of my dissertation research and was presented at AAAL in Portland, Oregon, in May 2004. I acknowledge the generous support of the University of California, Davis and the Humanities Research Grant that allowed me to conduct this research. I wish to thank Robert Blake for his guidance during the data collection phase of the project, Susan Gass and Charlene Polio for their helpful feedback on earlier drafts of this article, and Lourdes Sánchez González for helping me collect the native-speaker data. The comments and suggestions of three anonymous SSLA reviewers were also tremendously useful. All remaining errors are my own. %Address correspondence to Eve Zyzik, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Michigan State University, 334 Old Horticulture Building, East Lansing, MI 48824; e-mail: zyzik@msu.edu.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Eve Zyzik, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Michigan State University, 334 Old Horticulture Building, East Lansing, MI 48824; e-mail: zyzik@msu.edu
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Andersen, R.W. & Shirai, Y. (1994). Discourse motivations for some cognitive acquisition principles. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 16, 133156.

Berman, R.A. (1993). Marking of verb transitivity by Hebrew-speaking children. Journal of Child Language, 20, 641669.

Bowerman, M. (1990). Mapping thematic roles onto syntactic functions: Are children helped by innate “linking rules”?Linguistics, 28, 12531289.

Bybee, J.L. & Slobin, D.I. (1982). Rules and schemas in the development and use of the English past tense. Language, 58, 265289.

Ellis, N.C. (1996). Sequencing in SLA: Phonological memory, chunking, and points of order. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 18, 91126.

Ellis, N.C. (1998). Emergentism, connectionism and language learning. Language Learning, 48, 631664.

Ellis, N.C. (2002). Frequency effects in language processing: A review with implications for theories of implicit and explicit language acquisition. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 24, 143188.

Ellis, R. (1991). Grammaticality judgments and second language acquisition. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 13, 161186.

Ellis, R. (1999). Item versus system learning: Explaining free variation. Applied Linguistics, 20, 460480.

Elman, J.L. (1990). Finding structure in time. Cognitive Science, 14, 179211.

Gordon, P. & Chafetz, J. (1990). Verb-based vs. class-based accounts of actionality effects in children's comprehension of passives. Cognition, 36, 227254.

Green, J. (1975). Reflections on Spanish reflexives. Lingua, 35, 345391.

Hakuta, K. (1974). Prefabricated patterns and the emergence of structure in second language acquisition. Language Learning, 24, 287297.

Harrington, M. & Dennis, S. (2002). Input-driven language learning. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 24, 261268.

Hopper, P. & Thompson, S. (1980). Transitivity in grammar and discourse. Language, 56, 251299.

Jackson-Maldonado, D., Maldonado, R., & Thal, D.J. (1998). Reflexive and middle markers in early child language acquisition: Evidence from Mexican Spanish. First Language, 18, 403429.

Krashen, S. & Scarcella, R. (1978). On routines and patterns in language acquisition and performance. Language Learning, 28, 283300.

Loebell, H. & Bock, K. (2003). Structural priming across languages. Linguistics, 41, 791824.

MacWhinney, B. (1978). Processing a first language: The acquisition of morphophonology. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 43( 12, Serial No. 174).

Montrul, S. (2000). Transitivity alternations in second language acquisition: Toward a modular view of transfer. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 22, 229274.

Montrul, S. (2001). Agentive verbs of manner of motion in Spanish and English as second languages. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 23, 171207.

Montrul, S. (2004). Psycholinguistic evidence for split intransitivity in Spanish L2. Applied Psycholinguistics, 25, 239267.

Montrul, S. (2005). On knowledge and development of unaccusativity in Spanish L2 acquisition. Linguistics, 43, 11531190.

Myles, F., Hooper, J., & Mitchell, R. (1998). Rote or rule? Exploring the role of formulaic language in classroom foreign language learning. Language Learning, 48, 323363.

Nishida, C. (1994). The Spanish reflexive clitic se as an aspectual class marker. Linguistics, 32, 425458.

Perlmutter, D. (1978). Impersonal passives and the unaccusative hypothesis. Proceedings of the Fourth Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society, 4, 157189.

Schwartz, B. & Sprouse, R. (1996). L2 cognitive states and the full transfer/full access model. Second Language Research, 12, 4072.

Slobin, D.I. & Bever, T. (1982). Children use canonical sentence schemas: A cross-linguistic study of word order and inflections. Cognition, 12, 229265.

Sorace, A. (2000). Gradients in auxiliary selection with intransitive verbs. Language, 76, 859890.

Toth, P. (2000). The interaction of instruction and learner-internal factors in the acquisition of L2 morphosyntax. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 22, 169208.

White, L. (1991). Argument structure in second language acquisition. Journal of French Language Studies, 1, 189207.

Recommend this journal

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

Studies in Second Language Acquisition
  • ISSN: 0272-2631
  • EISSN: 1470-1545
  • URL: /core/journals/studies-in-second-language-acquisition
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 2
Total number of PDF views: 43 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 134 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 22nd June 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.