By G. Adams, T. Peck, H. Piotrowski
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Clahsen and Muysken claim that there is as yet no clear evidence that L2 learners have UG knowledge independent of their L1 grammar; adults can only fall back on UG principles insofar as these are instantiated in their own language. 3). White (1989:169) has suggested that it is the learning module containing the Subset Principle, rather 28 THE THEORY OF INTERLANGUAGE than UG itself, which is no longer available in SLA. Kean (1991) has argued that for UG to be available without the associated learning principles is biologically implausible.
Prior knowledge and experience of one or more languages often conditions the way we make sense of any new experience of language learning. Well-developed, pre-established concepts and mental structures together with automatized cognitive processes often hinder restructur ing and new development. Especially in the early stages of acquisition, there are strong tendencies for ILs to be shaped by L1 features. Transfer phenomena allow researchers to infer how prior knowledge of a particular language (L1) shapes the learner's construction of an interlanguage grammar.
Andersen (1983) attempts to outline the necessary conditions for the operation of transfer, which he subsumes under the 'transfer to somewhere' principle: a grammatical form or structure will occur as the result of transfer if (a) natural acquisitional principles are consistent with the L1 structure or (b) there already exists within the L2 input the potential for (mis)-generalization from the input to produce the same form or structure. Andersen's first condition echoes Zobl's view that an L1 structure which matches developmental tendencies is more transferable.