Special issue: Topics in L1 acquisition, L2 and L3 learning. Selected papers from the 7th Bucharest Colloquium of Language Acquisition
Editor: Veronica Tomescu
Cluster repair strategies in child Greek: An optimality theoretic account
Abstract: This case study investigates the simplification strategies of reduction to the more sonorous cluster member and cluster deletion in [obstruent + liquid] clusters. These strategies are in complementary distribution: the former applies in [obstruent + lateral] clusters and the latter in [obstruent + rhotic] ones. There is a contiguity effect in the child’s system, i.e. the grammar requires that the adjacent segments in the input be adjacent in the output. The pattern of reduction to the more sonorous member of the cluster in [obstruent + lateral] clusters is contiguity-driven and satisfies the adjacency requirement. The adjacency requirement is not met in [obstruent + rhotic] clusters. The complementary distribution of these strategies emerges from the permission of lateral-initial onsets and the prohibition of rhotic-initial ones in the output. We claim that cluster deletion is an epiphenomenon of the grammar’s restrictions on onsets, i.e. the contiguity effect and the prohibition of rhotic-initial onsets results in cluster deletion.
Keywords: clusters, cluster reduction, cluster deletion, contiguity, laterals, rhotics
Extraction in L2 English: Are factive verbs all alike?
Abstract: Factive verbs are traditionally said to induce weak island effects, banning the extraction of adjuncts, but not that of arguments, out of their post-verbal clause. However, many studies in the literature (Karttunen 1971, Hooper & Thompson 1973, Djarv 2019) show that not all factive verbs are alike and distinguish between emotive factives (true factives) and cognitive factives (semi-factives). These two sub-classes evince different syntactic behaviour, cognitive factives being seen as more permissive. With such verbs, event adjunct extraction is reported to be allowed, in some cases (Djarv & Romero 2021). The aim of this paper is to test the availability of adjunct extraction in L2 English. Testing native speakers of Romanian, at an intermediate and advanced level of English, I show that the extraction of adjuncts out of the post-verbal clause of a factive verb is banned in L2, irrespective of predicate type or proficiency level.
Keywords: island effects, factive verbs, adjunct extraction, islands in L2
Diary null subjects in L2 English: A study on grammatical acceptability
Abstract: The current paper investigates the grammatical acceptability of null subjects in the diary register of L2 English by intermediate and advanced students, native speakers of Romanian. Overall results indicate performance that does not surpass chance level, and therefore, a strong conservative preference for overtly realized subjects in diary contexts. However, individual analysis has identified a small group of L2 learners who consistenly scored well above chance in the four experimental conditions (overt subject, null subject in root clause, null subject in embedded clause and null subject in yes-no questions). I discuss several factors that relate to the difficulty which L2 learners have with accepting on-target null subjects in the diary register. Quite likely, they never had enough exposure to the relevant input. L2 acquisition slows down when multiple grammars (core and non-core) are identified. Also, subject omission is optional, so the study tested a preference, not a mandatory phenomenon.
Keywords: L2 English, diary register, null subjects, multiple grammars
Are postverbal subjects difficult to eliminate from the L2 English of L1 speakers of Romanian?
Abstract: The availability of post-verbal subjects in non-canonical sentences is one of the properties which distinguish between non null-subject languages, like English, and consistent null-subject languages, like Romanian. L2 learning studies provide conflicting results with respect to whether native speakers of a null-subject language can fully eliminate ungrammatical postverbal subjects from their L2 English. The aim of this paper is to investigate if postverbal subjects are difficult to eliminate from the L2 English of L1 speakers of Romanian. The main results show that postverbal subjects are no longer accepted by advanced and proficient learners of L2 English. However, intermediate learners accept significantly more postverbal subjects with unaccusative verbs than the other two groups. These results are in line with the Interface Hypothesis and the Full Transfer/Full Access Model.
Keywords: postverbal subjects, Full Transfer/Full Access, The Interface Hypothesis, the null subject parameter, L2 English
Veronica Tomescu and Réka Pupp
Anaphora resolution in L2 and 2L1 Hungarian
Abstract: The paper tests the antecedent preferences for the null pronoun, the personal pronoun and the demonstrative subject in L2 and 2L1 Hungarian (with Romanian as the other language) by means of an offline picture selection task. In the null subject condition, both groups show subject bias, confirming previous hypotheses and research. An evident object bias is observable with the demonstrative, again confirming the low accessibility status of demonstratives. The results differ in the case of the overt personal pronoun subject. While it can have both topic shift and topic continuity interpretation in both languages, previous research suggests that in Romanian the former is favoured over the latter, whereas the reverse is true for Hungarian. Whereas the L2 group shows no bias in the personal pronoun condition, thus possibly showing transfer from L1, the 2L1 group shows a strong subject bias, placing the personal pronoun on equal footing with the null pronoun.
Keywords: anaphora resolution, null pronominal subject, personal pronoun, demonstrative, L2 Hungarian, 2L1 Hungarian
On the source of linguistic transfer in the learning of -te i- in L3 Japanese
Abstract: This paper examines the source of linguistic transfer in L3 Japanese in the learning of the -te i- aspect marker, in a context where L1 is Romanian and L2 is English. The analysis of data from two groups of learners (25 beginners and 14 intermediate L3 learners) show that the source of transfer is L1 Romanian, in spite of the fact that some similarities between the properties of L3 and L2 could have favoured transfer from L2 English. This conclusion is supported by the fact that, in a comprehension task, both proficiency groups of L3 learners interpreted –te i- predicates as having a habitual value more often than the native speakers who took part in this study. This non-facilitative transfer effect is still found with the intermediate group, mainly with activities, where no clear distinction is attested between the progressive and the habitual values of the -te i- predicates. Overall, L3 learners did not interpret –te i- predicates as progressive more often than the native speakers, which suggests that L2 cannot be the source of transfer.
Keywords: –te i-, aspect, L3 Japanese, L1 Romanian, L2 English, linguistic transfer