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LINGUIST List 16.1173

Wed Apr 13 2005

Diss: Lang Acquisition: Agathopoulou: 'Noun-noun ...'

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        1.    Eleni Agathopoulou, Noun-noun Compounds in the Greek-English Interlanguage


Message 1: Noun-noun Compounds in the Greek-English Interlanguage
Date: 13-Apr-2005
From: Eleni Agathopoulou <agathoenl.auth.gr>
Subject: Noun-noun Compounds in the Greek-English Interlanguage


Institution: Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2003

Author: Eleni Agathopoulou

Dissertation Title: Noun-noun Compounds in the Greek-English Interlanguage

Dissertation URL: http://cds.lib.auth.gr//archive.shtml?base=Griza&id=gri-2003-111

Linguistic Field(s): Language Acquisition
                            Psycholinguistics
                            Syntax

Subject Language(s): English (ENG)
                            Greek (GRK)

Dissertation Director:
Anna Anastasiadis-Symeonidis
Angeliki Psaltou-Joycey
Ianthi M. Tsimpli

Dissertation Abstract:

This thesis investigates the L2 acquisition of English root and deverbal
noun-noun compounds (e.g. car company, car exporter) by Greek adults,
within the theoretical framework of Minimalism (Chomsky 1995). Greek and
English compounds have the same structure in that they are right-headed,
with the non-head noun (NHN) in both of them being a stem, not a word.
However, in Greek there is phonological difference between stem and word,
unlike in English.

The participants (30 intermediate + 30 advanced Greeks and 20 native
speakers of English) completed four tasks: picture-naming, grammaticality
judgements, referentiality judgements and interpretations. The targeted
items were novel or non-usualized noun-noun compounds.

Results show that learners differ significantly from the natives as to the
production/acceptance of plural and genitive NHN, the order between NHN and
head-noun and the (im)possibility of referring separately to the NHN in
compounds. Moreover, the interlanguage forms reveal effects of L1
parametric options regarding noun modification in the phrasal domain, such
as a) the strong (overt) number agreement between the DP members, b) the
strong D feature of the functional category P which results in the overt
marking of the NHN with the genitive case when the head is a root noun and
c) the ability of deverbal nominals to assign genitive case to their
complement nouns.

Additionally, results from the very advanced learners indicate that
parameter resetting may not be feasible in adult L2 learning when it
concerns features which are non-interpretable at LF. Still, the structure
of the L2 compounds is compatible with Universal Grammar principles. Last,
the dissociation between regular and irregular morphology is confirmed in
the acquisition of compounds, but there is no conclusive evidence as to
whether nativist or connectionist theories can better account for this
dissociation.





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