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Title: A comparative study of restrictive relative clauses in Latakian Syrian Arabic and English restrictive relative clauses by first language speakers of Latakian Syrian Arabic
Author: Shaheen, Buthaina
Awarding Body: University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2013
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The study reported in this thesis had two goals. The first was to critically evaluate existing proposals for the syntactic structure of restrictive relative clauses with definite and indefinite heads in English and Latakian Syrian Arabic (a colloquial dialect of Arabic), and to select those proposals which provide the best fit for the facts of English and for the facts of Latakian Syrian Arabic. The second goal was to contribute to the development of a theory of second language acquisition by investigating how speakers of Latakian Syrian Arabic acquire English definite and indefinite RRCs. Since this is the first study of the structure of restrictive relative clauses in Latakian Syrian Arabic, an important first task was to collect grammatical intuitional data from native speakers of that variety. Based on the findings, and the well-known properties of restrictive relative clauses in English, it was argued that the account that best fits the data of English is the traditional operator movement analysis, while for Latakian Syrian Arabic a clitic left-dislocation account offers the best fit. Assuming this analysis, the acquisition of restrictive relative clauses in English by speakers of Latakian Syrian Arabic was investigated using a quasi-longitudinal design. Learners of elementary, lower intermediate, upper intermediate and advanced proficiency (as measured by an independent proficiency test) completed a grammaticality judgement task, a guided gap-filling task and a translation task. Results show first language influence at early stages of learning on some properties, but not all. There is also persistent influence of the first language in later stages of learning, but specifically on properties that involve uninterpretable features. Interpretable features appear to have been fully acquired. The implications of these findings for theories of second language acquisition are considered.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available