Interlanguage and Learnability: From Chinese to English by Virginia Yip

By Virginia Yip

This booklet investigates a suite of buildings attribute of chinese language audio system' English interlanguage (CIL) within the gentle of grammatical thought and ideas of learnability. As a examine of CIL grammar, it illuminates either the idea of interlanguage syntax regularly and a few particular difficulties within the acquisition of English by means of chinese language L1 beginners. a collection of interrelated constructions are investigated, together with topicalization, passive, ergative, “tough circulate” and existential structures. The interlanguage is approached in the course of the comparative syntax of the correct L1 and L2 structures, combining insights from Chomskyan common Grammar and typological study. CIL proves to be permeable to chinese language typological impact and bears topic-prominent features, whereas displaying results of language universals. A parallel subject matter of the ebook is the query of learnability within the context of moment language acquisition. The Subset and area of expertise rules are tailored to the L2 context as a way to account for studying hassle in addition to winning acquisition. Under-generation and over-generation of the interlanguage and aim structures provide upward push to learnability difficulties that are formulated by way of set family on the point of person structures. the distinctiveness precept is invoked to inspire preemption of overgenerated varieties. The interplay of syntax and semantics performs a vital position within the formula and backbone of those learnability difficulties. common conceptual matters raised via the Subset and distinctiveness ideas also are mentioned.

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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.

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