From a Romance null subject grammar to a non-null subject grammar: The syntax of pronominal subjects in advanced and near-native English

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

Abstract

This study investigates the acquisition of pronominal subjects by advanced and near-native speakers of English whose L1s are European Portuguese (EP), a null subject language (NSL), and French, a non-NSL (NNSL). Two experimental tasks were used: a drag-and-drop task and a speeded acceptability judgement task. Results show that the EP speakers who have an advanced level of English fail to reject expletive and [-animate] null subjects in the speeded task. In contrast, those who are at a near-native level behave native-like across all tasks, just as French speakers do. These findings indicate that the syntax of subjects is acquirable in L1 NSL-L2 NNSL pairings, despite giving rise to significant developmental delays. Developmental problems are argued to result from input misanalysis.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRomance Languages and Linguistic Theory 15
Subtitle of host publicationSelected papers from 'Going Romance' 30, Frankfurt
EditorsIngo Feldhausen, Martin Elsig, Imme Kuchenbrandt, Mareike Neuhaus
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
Chapter13
Pages256-274
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9789027262370
ISBN (Print)9789027203373
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventGoing Romance 2016 - Frankfurt
Duration: 8 Dec 201610 Dec 2016

Conference

ConferenceGoing Romance 2016
Period8/12/1610/12/16

Keywords

  • Second language acquisition, ultimate attainment, null subject parameter, interface hypothesis, antecedent animacy
  • Input misanalysis
  • Ultimate attainment
  • Null subject parameter
  • Interface hypothesis
  • Antecedent animacy

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