Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login

New from Cambridge University Press!


Voice Quality

By John H. Esling, Scott R. Moisik, Allison Benner, Lise Crevier-Buchman

Voice Quality "The first description of voice quality production in forty years, this book provides a new framework for its study: The Laryngeal Articulator Model. Informed by instrumental examinations of the laryngeal articulatory mechanism, it revises our understanding of articulatory postures to explain the actions, vibrations and resonances generated in the epilarynx and pharynx."

New from Oxford University Press!


Let's Talk

By David Crystal

Let's Talk "Explores the factors that motivate so many different kinds of talk and reveals the rules we use unconsciously, even in the most routine exchanges of everyday conversation."

E-mail this page 1

We Have a New Site!

With the help of your donations we have been making good progress on designing and launching our new website! Check it out at!
***We are still in our beta stages for the new site--if you have any feedback, be sure to let us know at***

Dissertation Information

Title: Binding and Gapping in Second Language Acquisition: Evidence from a longitudinal study of Japanese learners of English Add Dissertation
Author: Shizuko Ozaki Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Ball State University, Linguistics and TESOL
Completed in: 2005
Linguistic Subfield(s): Syntax; Language Acquisition;
Subject Language(s): English
Director(s): Carolyn MacKay
Frank Trechsel
Guohe Zheng
Elizabeth Riddle

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.