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Title:The verb movement parameter and adult L2 learners of Spanish
Author(s):Mandell, Paul B.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):VanPatten, Bill
Department / Program:Spanish, Italian and Portuguese
Discipline:Spanish, Italian and Portuguese
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):Education, Language and Literature
Language, Linguistics
Language, Modern
Education, Adult and Continuing
Abstract:This study addresses the question of whether adult L2 learners of Spanish reset the V-movement parameter (Pollock, 1989) value from ($-$ raise) from their English L1 to (+ raise) in their L2. Numerous studies have addressed this question as it applies to L2 acquisition of French and English (Hawkins, Towell, & Bazergui, 1993: Hulk, 1991; Schwartz & Gubala-Ryzak, 1992; Trahey & White, 1993; White, 1990, 1991, 1992), but few have addressed this question in the acquisition of other second languages by learners whose V-movement parameter settings differ from their L1. Thus, the present study addresses the following two research questions: Do adult L2 learners of Spanish from different levels accept to the same degree sentences with the following surface level syntactic properties: adverbials between lexical verbs and their object noun phrases, subject/lexical verb inversion in yes/no question formation, and subject/lexical verb inversion in questions with fronted thematic Wh-phrases and Is there a developmental pattern in the degree of acceptance of the sentences with these three syntactic properties across second, fourth, and sixth semester, and fifth year and above levels of adult learners of Spanish?
To address these questions, two types of tests were administered: a grammaticality judgment test and a dehydrated sentence test. The critical items on both tests consisted of grammatical sentences with adverbials between lexical verbs and object noun phrases, grammatical yes/no questions with subject/lexical verb inversion, and ungrammatical questions with fronted thematic wh-phrases without subject/lexical verb inversion (Suner, 1994; Torrego, 1984). It was assumed that a reset V-movement parameter would be reflected in an increase in accuracy in these three types of intuitions in conjunction with a lack of significant difference between the three. Four levels, second, fourth, and sixth semester, and fifth year and above university level learners of Spanish were administered these materials.
The results of these materials reveal two major findings: Adult L2 learners of Spanish successfully reset the V-movement parameter as measured by these three types of intuitions about syntactic structure. Furthermore, a distinct pattern of order of acquisition appears. The order of acquisition is as follows: intuitions of "ungrammaticality" of thematic wh-phrase fronting in the absence of subject/lexical verb inversion, intuitions of "grammaticality" of subject/lexical verb inversion in yes/no question formation, and finally, placement of adverbials between lexical verbs and object noun phrases.
Issue Date:1996
Type:Text
Language:English
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/22557
ISBN:9780591199321
Rights Information:Copyright 1996 Mandell, Paul B.
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9712367
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9712367


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