Language Universals and Second Language Acquisition by William E. Rutherford (Ed.)

By William E. Rutherford (Ed.)

This quantity involves papers offered on the convention on Language Universals and moment Language Acquisition, collage of Southern California, February 1982. released with the papers are the feedback of the initially assigned discussants. the gathering represents a tremendous cross-fertilization among examine in grammatical concept and in moment language acquisition. subject matters handled in many of the papers contain notice order, markedness, center grammar, accessability hierarchies, and simplified registers. the diversity of universals mentioned embraces phonology, syntax, semantics, and discourse. Universals also are thought of as regards to ontology, mental truth, and overview metrics.

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If these relationships are indeed motivated by diachronic factors, then it is quite reasonable to expect that universals will have little or no effect on the second language acquisition process. We will now present some evidence in support of this. One of the strongest of these word order universals is that languages with basic verb-final order exhibit the order lexical verb + auxiliary rather than the reverse. In dependent clauses German is verb final and the auxiliary is placed after the lexical verb as can be seen in (2): THE ONTOLOGY OF LANGUAGE UNIVERSALS (2) 41 a.

The second type refers to influences of factors in the human perceptual and cognitive apparatus and processing capabilities which affect more than language related phenomena. This type of source has frequently been of- 36 SUSAN GASS AND JOSH ARD fered by scholars opposed to narrowly innatist views of language acquisition (Slobin 1973; Sinclair-de Zwart 1973). 3. The third and fourth sources, a language acquisition device and a neurophysiological basis for language use, are usually not divided. We have bifurcated what is normally called a language acquisition device into two entities: 1) one called a language acquisition device that only contributes to the acquisition of competence proper, and 2) one called the neurophysiological basis for language use that also contributes to more general factors of use and performance.

That is, these last two sources can be invoked as explanations for universals only when there are no physical, perceptual, cognitive or interactional facts, either singly or in combination, that can account for the universal. At the present stage of research, it is impossible to provide direct evidence for these language-particular sources. Rather, their existence is inferred, because some mechanism is required to account for language competence and language universals. 4. The fifth potential source of language universals, historical change, is perhaps the most difficult to accept and understand.

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