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Academic Paper


Title: Introduction
Author: Yasuhiro Shirai
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Author: Hiromi Ozeki
Institution: University of Tokyo
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics
Abstract: Typological linguistics has made important contributions to our understanding of SLA processes, especially in the early days of SLA research (e.g., Eckman, 1977; Hyltenstam, 1977; Rutherford, 1984). In particular, the noun phrase accessibility hierarchy (NPAH), originally proposed as a generalization based on typological work by Keenan and Comrie (1977), has served as a basis on which many SLA studies are conducted. The NPAH predicts the ease of relativization as a function of the grammatical role of the head noun
phrase (NP) modified by the relative clause (RC) observed in languages of the world: subject (SU), direct object (DO), indirect object (IO), oblique (OBL), genitive (GEN), object of comparison (OComp).

If a language can relativize on a position on the hierarchy, then it follows that any other higher position (or position to the left in the given schematic) can also be relativized on. For example, if a language has an OComp relative (e.g., the man who I am taller than), then
it has a GEN relative (e.g., the man whose father I know) and all of the others higher on the hierarchy (i.e., OBL, IO, DO, and SU).

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This article appears IN Studies in Second Language Acquisition Vol. 29, Issue 2, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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