Early research on second language (L2) acquisition pointed out that semantically transparent properties of a given target language (TL) are easier to be acquired/learnt than more abstract syntactic properties which do not directly correspond to semantic representations (Kellerman 1987). This assumption suggests that aspects of grammar that require not only syntactic knowledge, but also the ability to integrate syntactic knowledge and knowledge from other domains of language is hardly to be acquired by L2 learners (Sorace 2005). In particular, features that belong to the interface between syntax and lexicon may be vulnerable to variability and even deviation with respect to the TL constraints. Starting from the assumption that L2 learners employ qualitatively different parsing strategies from native speakers at the semantic-syntactic level, I have carried out a study on a sample of L2 data to investigate learners’ difficulty to automatically integrate phrase structure and lexical-semantic information by focusing on argument structure in their interlanguage. Given the assumption that the notion of argument is a notion at the interface of the syntactic and semantic levels determining the valency of a verb and its subcategorization frame, so presumably fuzzy categories like ‘argument’ and ‘adjunct’ may lead to frequent misinterpretation and misuse of prepositional phrase (PP) attachments and verb complementation by L2 learners. To verify this hypothesis a small corpus of written productions from Italian university students has been automatically parsed by using the VISL applications/language tools which can provide both syntactic and semantic information on a given constituent structure. Following the procedure adopted in a recent study on the automatic detection and extraction of arguments and adjuncts from a parsed corpus of English native speakers (Merlo-Ferrer 2006), I have matched corpus-based evidence and the linguistic diagnostics (e.g. head dependency and optionality) generally used to decide whether a PP is an argument or an adjunct to find out similarities andor differences in L1L2 syntactic constructions. Keywords: annotation, syntax-lexicon interface, adjuncts, arguments, L1/L2 acquisition

The interpretation of Prepositional Phrases as Arguments and Adjuncts in L2 acquisition

CALABRESE, RITA
2010

Abstract

Early research on second language (L2) acquisition pointed out that semantically transparent properties of a given target language (TL) are easier to be acquired/learnt than more abstract syntactic properties which do not directly correspond to semantic representations (Kellerman 1987). This assumption suggests that aspects of grammar that require not only syntactic knowledge, but also the ability to integrate syntactic knowledge and knowledge from other domains of language is hardly to be acquired by L2 learners (Sorace 2005). In particular, features that belong to the interface between syntax and lexicon may be vulnerable to variability and even deviation with respect to the TL constraints. Starting from the assumption that L2 learners employ qualitatively different parsing strategies from native speakers at the semantic-syntactic level, I have carried out a study on a sample of L2 data to investigate learners’ difficulty to automatically integrate phrase structure and lexical-semantic information by focusing on argument structure in their interlanguage. Given the assumption that the notion of argument is a notion at the interface of the syntactic and semantic levels determining the valency of a verb and its subcategorization frame, so presumably fuzzy categories like ‘argument’ and ‘adjunct’ may lead to frequent misinterpretation and misuse of prepositional phrase (PP) attachments and verb complementation by L2 learners. To verify this hypothesis a small corpus of written productions from Italian university students has been automatically parsed by using the VISL applications/language tools which can provide both syntactic and semantic information on a given constituent structure. Following the procedure adopted in a recent study on the automatic detection and extraction of arguments and adjuncts from a parsed corpus of English native speakers (Merlo-Ferrer 2006), I have matched corpus-based evidence and the linguistic diagnostics (e.g. head dependency and optionality) generally used to decide whether a PP is an argument or an adjunct to find out similarities andor differences in L1L2 syntactic constructions. Keywords: annotation, syntax-lexicon interface, adjuncts, arguments, L1/L2 acquisition
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11386/3004842
 Attenzione

Attenzione! I dati visualizzati non sono stati sottoposti a validazione da parte dell'ateneo

Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact