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LINGUIST List 16.2308

Tue Aug 02 2005

Diss: Lang Acquisition/Syntax: Ozaki: 'Binding and ...'

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        1.    Shizuko Ozaki, Binding and Gapping in Second Language Acquisition: Evidence from a longitudinal study of Japanese learners of English


Message 1: Binding and Gapping in Second Language Acquisition: Evidence from a longitudinal study of Japanese learners of English
Date: 31-Jul-2005
From: Shizuko Ozaki <sozakihotmail.com>
Subject: Binding and Gapping in Second Language Acquisition: Evidence from a longitudinal study of Japanese learners of English


Institution: Ball State University
Program: Department of English
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2005

Author: Shizuko Ozaki

Dissertation Title: Binding and Gapping in Second Language Acquisition: Evidence from a longitudinal study of Japanese learners of English

Linguistic Field(s): Language Acquisition
                            Syntax

Subject Language(s): English (ENG)
                            Japanese (JPN)

Dissertation Director:
Carolyn J MacKay
Elizabeth M Riddle
Frank R Trechsel
Guohe Zheng

Dissertation Abstract:

The aim of this dissertation was to examine how Japanese learners of
English in the United States developed their interpretation of antecedents
of reflexive pronouns and their understanding of the direction of verb
gapping in English over time. The two properties in question operate
differently in English and Japanese, and neither property is normally
taught. Therefore, the acquisition of these properties of English by
Japanese learners sheds light on the role of Universal Grammar (UG) in
second language acquisition (SLA).

Fourteen Japanese learners answered three questionnaires, each containing a
test assessing reflexives (the Binding Test) and a test assessing verb
gapping (the Gapping Test) at three different times, approximately 12 weeks
apart from each other. In addition, three groups of 20 native speakers of
English provided their results on the same questionnaires.

The overall performance of the learners on the Binding Test started out
significantly inferior to that of native speakers, and it did not reach the
level of native speakers in later sessions. In contrast, the overall
performance of the learners on the Gapping Test started out as good as that
of native speakers, and it maintained the same level relative to the native
performance in later sessions. Furthermore, the overall performance of the
learners in later sessions was not significantly better than that in
earlier sessions. These findings seem to suggest that increased time spent
in an English-speaking environment did not have any effects on the
learners' acquisition of the two properties. However, when performance by
subset was considered, significant improvement was observed.

Examination of individual patterns of responses revealed that the learners
showed the patterns consistent to English, Japanese, and even other
languages and that some of the learners who previously showed a pattern
other than the English pattern successfully demonstrated the English
pattern in later sessions. These findings constitute evidence for the view
that parameter-resetting is possible in SLA.

The dissertation also includes discussion of the test instrument and
explanation of the data in the light of recent theoretical predictions. The
concluding chapter offers pedagogical implications as well as suggestions
for future UG-based SLA research.





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