2011 Linguistics
SemanticScholar ID: 209517895

Child L1, Child L2 and Adult L2 Acquisition: Differences and Similarities

Publication Summary

Second language acquisition research often compares non-native acquirers (L2ers) with other learner populations. Such cross-population comparisons include: (i) child native language (L1) acquisition~child L2 acquisition (e.g. Gavruseva 2000; Weerman et al. 2003); (ii) child L2~adult L2 (e.g. Cancino et al. 1978; McDonald 2000; Montrul 2002; Weerman et al. 2003) and (iii) child L1~adult L2 (Cancino et al. 1978; Jordens 1988; Neeleman and Weerman 1997, a.o.). Focussing on the second of these comparisons, this paper presents an analysis of production data from English-speaking child and adult non-native acquirers (L2ers) of Dutch. The specific property of Dutch to be acquired, direct object scrambling over negation, is a phenomenon which instantiates interaction between different modules of language and as such, may be informative with respect to the syntax-semantics interface in L2 acquisition. On the basis of experimental data on the (non-) scrambling of definite DP objects, specific and non-specific indefinite DP objects, two claims are made: (i) English-speaking adult and child L2ers go through the same developmental sequences in their acquisition of direct object scrambling in Dutch, and (ii) non-targetlike scrambling results from missing syntactic knowledge. The outline of this paper is as follows: section 1 explains the rationale behind the adult L2~child L2 comparison. This is followed in section 2 by a brief summary of scrambling over negation. Section 3 presents the subjects, methodology and results of the L2 experiment. In the discsussion in section 4, we consider what the results tell us about L2 acquisition, what they tell us about L2 scrambling and how these results compare to L1 acquisition data.

CAER Authors

Avatar Image for Sharon Unsworth

Dr. Sharon Unsworth

Radboud University - Associate Professor in the Department of Language and Communication and the Department of Modern Languages

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