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Knowledge of A/A'-dependencies on subject extraction with two types of infinitives in non-native Portuguese adult bilingualism

Rothman, J. (2009) Knowledge of A/A'-dependencies on subject extraction with two types of infinitives in non-native Portuguese adult bilingualism. International Journal of Bilingualism, 13 (1). pp. 111-140. ISSN 1756-6878

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1177/1367006909103531

Abstract/Summary

Within generative L2 acquisition research there is a longstanding debate as to what underlies observable differences in L1/L2 knowledge/ performance. On the one hand, Full Accessibility approaches maintain that target L2 syntactic representations (new functional categories and features) are acquirable (e.g., Schwartz & Sprouse, 1996). Conversely, Partial Accessibility approaches claim that L2 variability and/or optionality, even at advanced levels, obtains as a result of inevitable deficits in L2 narrow syntax and is conditioned upon a maturational failure in adulthood to acquire (some) new functional features (e.g., Beck, 1998; Hawkins & Chan, 1997; Hawkins & Hattori, 2006; Tsimpli & Dimitrakopoulou, 2007). The present study tests the predictions of these two sets of approaches with advanced English learners of L2 Brazilian Portuguese (n = 21) in the domain of inflected infinitives. These advanced L2 learners reliably differentiate syntactically between finite verbs, uninflected and inflected infinitives, which, as argued, only supports Full Accessibility approaches. Moreover, we will discuss how testing the domain of inflected infinitives is especially interesting in light of recent proposals that Brazilian Portuguese colloquial dialects no longer actively instantiate them (Lightfoot, 1991; Pires, 2002, 2006; Pires & Rothman, 2009; Rothman, 2007).

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Clinical Language Sciences
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Language and Cognition
ID Code:33085
Publisher:Sage

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