LINGUIST List 25.2278

Fri May 23 2014

Books: The Split IP Parameter in Second Language Learning: Simoiu

Editor for this issue: Sara Couture <>

Date: 21-May-2014
From: Chris Humphrey <>
Subject: The Split IP Parameter in Second Language Learning: Simoiu
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Title: The Split IP Parameter in Second Language Learning
Published: 2014
Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing

Book URL:

Author: Adela Simoiu
Hardback: ISBN: 9781443856584 Pages: 253 Price: U.K. £ 44.99
Hardback: ISBN: 9781443856584 Pages: 253 Price: U.S. $ 76.99

The book addresses some important issues in second language acquisition research, such as access to Universal Grammar, the factors that account for success or failure in L2 learning, as well as parameter (re)setting, within the generative framework. The empirical data against which the research hypothesis is tested come from two main studies: a longitudinal one, involving beginner learners, and an experimental one, with elementary and advanced learners; all subjects are adults learning English in a formal instruction setting, with Romanian as L1.

Starting from Chomsky’s (2005) account of first language acquisition in terms of three factors, namely genetic endowment, experience and non-linguistic principles, the first chapter of the book explores the question of whether the same three factors may be operating in second language learning. The rest of the book focuses on more specific research issues related to access to Universal Grammar and parameter (re)setting. Since L1 acquisition is defined mainly as the process of parameter setting on the basis of the input, parameter setting is expected to be at the core of L2 learning as well. However, in the literature, it has often been argued that one of the most important differences between L1 and L2 acquisition is related precisely to this process.

The parameter which the book focuses on is the split IP parameter (Bobaljik and Thráinsson, 1998), in the case of Romanian L1 learners of English as L2. Romanian is (+ split IP) while English is (- split IP). In this case, the learners would need to move from the positive (+) value of the parameter to the negative (-) one, i.e. from a wider set of property values to a more restrictive one. There are three possible scenarios: (i) the L2 learners set the negative (-) value from the target language from the very beginning, on the basis of input alone; (ii) the learners first transfer the positive (+) value from their L1 and reset this value to the L2 negative (-) one as they progress in acquiring the L2; the final state is L2-like; (iii) the learners first transfer the positive (+) value from their L1 but resetting is impossible; the L2 underlying representations are different from those of native speakers even with advanced speakers, and what may account for final L2 state is parameter learning. These scenarios are explored with the help of the data provided by longitudinal and experimental studies.

Linguistic Field(s): Language Acquisition
                            Linguistic Theories

Subject Language(s): English (eng)
                            Romanian (ron)

Written In: English (eng)

See this book announcement on our website:

---------------------------------- Publishing Partner ----------------------------------
Cambridge University Press

----------------------------- Major Supporting Publishers -----------------------------
Akademie Verlag GmbH
Bloomsbury Linguistics (formerly Continuum Linguistics)
Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Cascadilla Press
Classiques Garnier
De Gruyter Mouton
Edinburgh University Press
Elsevier Ltd
Equinox Publishing Ltd
European Language Resources Association (ELRA)
Georgetown University Press
John Benjamins
Lincom GmbH
MIT Press
Multilingual Matters
Narr Francke Attempto Verlag GmbH + Co. KG
Oxford University Press
Palgrave Macmillan
Peter Lang AG
Routledge (Taylor and Francis)
University of Toronto Press

--------------------------- Other Supporting Publishers ---------------------------
Association of Editors of the Journal of Portuguese Linguistics
International Pragmatics Assoc.
Linguistic Association of Finland
Morgan & Claypool Publishers
Netherlands Graduate School of Linguistics / Landelijke (LOT)
Seoul National University
SIL International Publications
Universitat Jaume I
University of Nebraska Press
Utrecht institute of Linguistics

Page Updated: 23-May-2014