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LINGUIST List 19.2911

Thu Sep 25 2008

Diss: Applied Ling/Lang Acq: Kalt: 'Second Language Acquisition of ...'

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        1.    Susan Kalt, Second Language Acquisition of Spanish Morpho-Syntax by Quechua-Speaking Children

Message 1: Second Language Acquisition of Spanish Morpho-Syntax by Quechua-Speaking Children
Date: 25-Sep-2008
From: Susan Kalt <sue_kaltyahoo.com>
Subject: Second Language Acquisition of Spanish Morpho-Syntax by Quechua-Speaking Children
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Institution: University of Southern California
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2002

Author: Susan E. Kalt

Dissertation Title: Second Language Acquisition of Spanish Morpho-Syntax by Quechua-Speaking Children

Dissertation URL: http://www.rcc.mass.edu/Language/faculty/Sue_Kalt/Document/Kalt_Dissertation.pdf

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics
                            Language Acquisition

Subject Language(s): Quechua, Cusco (quz)
                            Spanish (spa)

Dissertation Director:
Suzanne Flynn
William F Rutherford

Dissertation Abstract:

Assuming that persons acquiring a second language (L2) have continuous
access to the same Universal Grammar (UG) as monolingual children acquiring
their first language (Flynn and Martohardjono 1994), there remains
controversy as to how to best characterize UG, and whether or not L2
acquirers transfer the functional features of their first language in the
initial state (Schwartz and Sprouse 1996).

One well-studied area regarding monolingual development and UG constraints
pertains to the ability to rule out the reflexive interpretation of a
non-reflexive element (Deutsch, Koster and Koster 1986, Chien and Wexler
1990, Padilla 1990, Baauw, Philip and Escobar 1997, Baauw 1999). Dutch and
English monolinguals five to ten years old are better able to rule out
non-reflexive readings of reflexive elements than vice versa, but Spanish
speaking children are not. Baauw (1999) proposed that Spanish clitics,
whose interpretation results from head movement, are exempt from this
reflexive privilege effect.

I measured the development of sixteen monolingual Bolivian Spanish and
eighty-four L2 Quechua-Spanish-speaking children's ability to interpret
reflexive vs. oblique and locative vs. possessive clitics between ages five
and fifteen years, using a culturally appropriate picture selection task
(Gerken and Shady 1996). I claimed that both groups' performance should
illuminate the reflexive privilege effect, and that the L2 group should
perform better on locative clitics than possessives if functional feature
transfer from Quechua determined their initial grammar of Spanish.

I found no evidence of reflexive privilege in the monolingual group, whose
performance was nearly perfect from the earliest age tested, cohering with
results for monolingual Spanish speaking children cited above.

The L2 group displayed reflexive privilege beginning around age eight and
continuing throughout. I propose two explanations: reflexive privilege is a
processing phenomenon favoring successful interpretation of the clitic
bound in the most local domain, and/or frequent OV sentences in this
group's input discourages them from interpreting clitics as resulting from
head movement.

The L2 group performed better on oblique third person possessive sentences
than on oblique third person locatives. This pattern provides evidence
against initial feature transfer from L1.

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