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Title: The initial state of Zulu L2 syntax : a study of the emergence of the CP projection in the Zulu grammar of native English speakers
Author: Dube, Sibusisiwe
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1998
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This thesis is concerned with the nature of developing interlanguage grammars from the initial state up to ultimate attainment. The investigation focuses on the availability of functional categories in initial state grammars and how these evolve up to ultimate attainment. The inquiry is conducted within the Principles and Parameters model. The basic assumptions made in the study are: (1) Universal Grammar is continually accessible in second language acquisition (2) parameters are associated with properties of functional categories and parametric variation reduces to differences in the properties of functional categories. As second language learners have a fully developed functional architecture of their native language grammar, properties of these fundamental categories may be incompatible with those required in the second language grammar. We then investigated whether the functional geometry of the native language has an influence at the initial state of second language acquisition, and if so, the exact nature and extent of this influence in the second language acquisition process. We therefore hypothesised that the initial state grammar for second language learners constitutes the final state of their first language. We view second language acquisition as a "failure-driven" process. Thus where the current interlanguage grammar cannot process the second language positive input data, restructuring occurs. We depart from the popular view that the availability of positive evidence necessarily guarantees rapid acquisition. We assume that subsequent development is determined by the hypothesis formulated at the initial state of second language acquisition and that this hypothesis determines the manner in which the input is analysed. We assume that the initial hypothesis the learner makes about the second language is that, form a structural syntactic point of view, the second language is = to the first language. If, on the basis of this hypothesis, the second language input is misanalysed, we predict that the developing interlanguage grammar never recovers from this misanalysis leading to an incomplete competence at ultimate attainment. In order to put these views to test, a cross-sectional study of the grammatically intuitions of English speaking learners of Zulu was conducted at five different proficiency levels. An acceptability judgement task was constructed in order to assess the acceptability of sentences which were diagnostic of the status of functional projections in their developing interlanguage grammar. The functional projection whose availability was the subject of this inquiry was the CP.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available