The acquisition of the dative alternation and particle movement by second language learners

Scammell, Wendy P. A. (1991) The acquisition of the dative alternation and particle movement by second language learners. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

This thesis looks at the second language acquisition of the English dative alternation, particle movement and their interaction by native speakers of Micmac. The associated theories of syntactic Markedness, which follows from a theory of Universal Grammar and Case theory are assumed as the basis for this research. The dative alternation is argued to have the unmarked structure [NP PP], as well as the marked structure [NP NP]. The unmarked structure for the verb-particle construction is assumed to be [V-Prt] and any other position of the particle in the sentence is marked. -- Results of a study on the acquisition of these structures indicate that the unmarked forms of the dative alternation and the verb-particle construction are acquired first by second language learners. A greater number of subjects judged unmarked forms more acceptable than marked ones according to the results of an intuitive judgement test and employed more in production than marked structures are. Results on the interaction of these structures show that sentences containing an unmarked contiguous particle and a prepositional dative are judged most acceptable and are widely employed in the production task. Sentences involving a marked verb-particle construction and the marked double-object form of the dative are judged less acceptable and are employed less in production. The results presented in this study support a continuum of markedness for sentences involving both target structures.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/5569
Item ID: 5569
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 138-142.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Linguistics
Date: 1991
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: English language--Study and teaching--Micmac speakers; English language--Syntax

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