LINGUIST List 13.2545

Mon Oct 7 2002

Diss: Lang Acquisition: Inagaki "Transfer..."

Editor for this issue: Karolina Owczarzak <>


  1. sinaga, Lang Acquisition: Inagaki "Transfer and Learnability..."

Message 1: Lang Acquisition: Inagaki "Transfer and Learnability..."

Date: Fri, 04 Oct 2002 22:56:04 +0000
From: sinaga <>
Subject: Lang Acquisition: Inagaki "Transfer and Learnability..."

New Dissertation Abstract

Institution: McGill University
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2002

Author: Shunji Inagaki 

Dissertation Title: 
Transfer and Learnability in Second Language Argument Structure:
Motion Verbs with Locational/Directional PPs in L2 English and

Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition

Dissertation Director 1: Lydia White
Dissertation Director 2: Lisa Travis

Dissertation Abstract:
This thesis investigates how the outcomes of second language (L2)
argument structure will vary depending on the nature of the learner's
first language (L1). The focus is on motion verbs appearing with a
prepositional/postpositional phrase that expresses the final endpoint
of the motion (goal PP). In English, manner-of-motion verbs (e.g.,
walk) and directed motion verbs (e.g., go) can appear with a goal PP
as in John walked (went) to school. In contrast, Japanese allows only
directed motion verbs to occur with a goal PP. Thus, Japanese motion
verbs with goal PPs form a subset of their English counterparts. I
propose an analysis of these crosslinguistic differences in terms of
different incorporation patterns in lexical-syntax (Hale & Keyser,
1993). L1 transfer and learnability considerations (White, 1991b),
then, lead me to hypothesize that Japanese-speaking learners of
English will be able to acquire the L2 representation on the basis of
positive evidence, but that English-speaking learners of Japanese will
have difficulty acquiring the L2 representation due to the lack of
positive data motivating the restructuring of the L1 representation to
the L2. A series of experiments tested these hypotheses using
grammaticality judgment and picture-matching tasks. Results in
general supported this prediction, suggesting that whether the L1
constitutes a subset of the L2 or vice versa indeed affects the
outcomes of L2 argument structure. The results indicate full
involvement of L1 and UG in L2 acquisition, thus supporting the
Full-Transfer/Full-Access model of L2 acquisition (Schwartz &
Sprouse, 1994).
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue