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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

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Dissertation Information

Title: The Availability of Universal Grammar to adult Turkish Learners of English: Parameter resetting Add Dissertation
Author: Türkay Bulut Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Çukurova University, Department of English Language Teaching
Completed in: 1996
Linguistic Subfield(s): Applied Linguistics;
Subject Language(s): English
Director(s): Fatma Ekmekçi
A. Özsoy

Abstract: This thesis proposes that parametric variations between Turkish and English with respect to the Pro-drop and the Governing Category parameters can cause transfer errors from the mother tongue while acquiring English as a foreign language. It is argued that the unmarked values of Turkish will be carried over into English while L2 learners are in the process of resetting the correct value of the target language. It is hypothesized that if Universal Grammar (UG) is not available to adults, Turkish adults will produce impossible errors such as binding the reflexive to an external NP (i.e. someone not mentioned in the sentence). The data obtained from the tasks do not support this hypothesis. So it can be claimed that since the errors produced by the L2 learners are systematic, processing strategies do not guide L2 acquisition. Adults seem to have access to UG.

Then, is this access direct or indirect (L1 instantiated)? The obtained data show that UG is fully available. For example, even the participants at the beginning level (the proficiency levels of the L2 learners are determined by the Michigan Proficiency Test) preferred non-pro drop sentences to pro-drop ones though their mother tongue is a pro-drop language. Only few chose the pro-drop choices, but as they become more proficient in English, this number decreased. The difference between their choices was statistically significant. Similarly for local binding versus long-distance binding preferences, the participants carried the long-distance binding value of Turkish only at the beginning level. Again, the more input they got in the classroom environment (I mean the more proficient their English is), the fewer errors they made. So, it can be claimed that since they were able to reset the correct parametric value of English not instantiated in Turkish.