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Title: The lexicon-syntax interface in second language acquisition : evidence from L2 Japanese
Author: Shomura, Yoko
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2002
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This thesis deals with the second language (L2) acquisition of the interface between verb meaning and morphosyntax in Japanese by English-speaking learners. The general aim of the study is to explore the influence of lexical semantic features on the acquisition of the syntax of intransitive verbs in L2 Japanese. Two different grammatical phenomena are targeted in the study: split intransitivity and the transitivity alternation. The aim of the study with respect to each grammatical phenomenon is outlined as follows. First, the purpose of the study on split intransitivity is to investigate whether the knowledge of the unaccusative-unergative distinction exhibited by native Japanese and acquired by L2 learners of Japanese displays any sensitivity to the Split Intransitivity Hierarchy, which is proposed by Sorace (2000) for European languages. Second, our interest in the transitivity alternation is to determine whether the difference in the features involved in the intransitive /transitive alternation will affect L2 acquisition. These features include not only the mapping between the lexicon and syntax, but also the presence of a morphological marker distinguishing transitive and intransitive verbs. The central issue of be addressed is whether learners experience more difficulty in acquisition when L1 and L2 share the same properties in the target verb class at the lexical-semantic level, but differ in how to encode it at the morphological level. The findings from previous studies suggest that learners tend to experience more difficulty in the case where the L1 marks the distinction with overt morphology and L2 does not, than in the opposite case where L1 does not encode the property with overt morphology and L2 does. This is a point which our study aims to further test. Three independent experimental studies were conducted to investigate these issues.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available