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Postverbal subjects in L2 English: a corpus-based study ICLC, Santiago de Compostela 19 th September 2005 Amaya Mendikoetxea

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Presentation on theme: "Postverbal subjects in L2 English: a corpus-based study ICLC, Santiago de Compostela 19 th September 2005 Amaya Mendikoetxea"— Presentation transcript:

1 Postverbal subjects in L2 English: a corpus-based study ICLC, Santiago de Compostela 19 th September 2005 Amaya Mendikoetxea Cristóbal Lozano Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

2 1. The phenomenon Rutherford (1989), Oshita (2004): L1 Spanish – L2 English:  …it arrived the day of his departure …  And then at last comes the great day.  In every country exist criminals  …after a few minutes arrive the girlfriend with his family too. Only with unaccusative verbs (never with unergatives). Unaccusatives: arrive, happen, exist, come, appear, live… Explanation: syntax-lexicon interface (unaccusatives)

3 2. Word order in native English Very restricted: canonical word order SV. Four girls sang Four girls arrived Lexicon-syntax interface (Levin & Rappaport-Hovav, etc):  Unaccusative Hypothesis (Burzio 1986, etc) *There sang four girls at the opera. There arrived four girls at the station. Syntax-discourse interface (Biber et al, Birner, etc):  Postverbal material tends to be focus (new info) We have complimentary soft drinks and coffee. Also complimentary is red and white wine. Syntax-Phonological Form (PF) interface (Arnold et al, etc)  Heavy material is sentence-final (Principle of End-Weight, Quirk): That money is important is obvious. It is obvious that money is important.

4 3. Word order in native Spanish Lexicon-syntax interface: Syntax-discourse interface: UNERGATIVES: SV A: Qué pasó? B: Un hombre gritó [SV] UNACCUSATIVES: SV A: Qué pasó? B: Llegó un hombre [VS] UNERGATIVES A: Quién gritó? B: Gritó un hombre [VS] UNACCUSATIVES A: Quién llegó? B: Llegó un hombre [VS] Theoretical evidence: Zubizarreta 1998, Casielles-Suárez 2004, Domínguez 2004 Empirical evidence: Hertel 2000, 2003, Lozano 2003, 2006

5 4. Aim VS order in L1 Spa – L2 Eng…  Lexicon-syntax interface : Only with unergatives, or with unaccusatives or both?  Syntax-PF interface : Postverbal subject: heavy or light?  Syntax-Discourse interface : Postverbal subject: topic or focus?

6 5. Method Learner corpus: L1 Spa – L2 Eng  ICLE Spanish subcorpus (Granger et al. 2002)  UAM corpus Query software: WordSmith v. 4.0 (Scott 2004) Statistical software: SPSS v. 12.0

7 6. Data analysis (1) Based on Levin (1993) and Levin & Rappaport-Hovav (1995):  Unergatives: cough, cry, shout, speak, walk, dance…[TOTAL: 41]  Unaccusatives: exist, live, appear, emerge, happen, arrive… [TOTAL: 34]

8 7. Data analysis (2) CONCORDANCES: FILTERING CRITERIA:  The verb must be intransitive (unergative or unaccusative).  The verb must be finite, active voice.  The subject can appear either postverbally (VS) or preverbally (SV).  The subject must be an NP.  The sentence can be either grammatical or ungrammatical in native English. OTHER FILTERING CRITERIA (TOTAL=28)

9 8. Result: VS and unaccusativity

10 9. Examples of production Mostly S-V:  The real problem appears when they have to look for their first job.  … these people should exist. But many V-S (58 in total):  There exist positive means of earning money.  So arised the Saint Inquisition.  In the main plot appear the main characters: Volpone and Mosca.  * …it has appeared some cases of women that have killed their husbands.  * …and from this moment begins the avarice.  * …and appeared a lot more theatres.

11 10. Result: VS and specific unaccusative verbs

12 11. Result: VS and weight HEAVY Against this society drama emerged an opposition headed by Oscar Wilde and Bernard Shaw. …so came the decline of the theatre. Then come the necessity to earn more. LIGHT So arised the Saint Inquisition … …and from there began a fire. Still today … exists the bloody fights.

13 12. Result: SV and weight HEAVY … the cases of men mistreated do not appear in the media… … a disintegration of culture, tradition and society would begin… … the utopian societies created by the early socialists appeared. LIGHT …but they may appear everywhere. …since the day eventually came… … these people should exist, …

14 13. Result: VS and discourse FOCUS …there also exists a wide variety of optional channels which have to be paid. So arised the Saint Inquisition. In 1880 it begun the experiments whose result was the appearance of the television some years later. TOPIC …our modern world, dominated by science and technology and industrialisation …because exist the science technology and the industrialisation.

15 14. Result: SV and discourse TOPIC I use the Internet … I find windows … if they press on any of these windows … these windows cannot appear because a child could enter easily… …the world of drugs: mafias … problems with mafias finished … dangerous people making money … no reason why these people should exist.

16 15. Summary/Conclusion V unacc NP subj Syntax-discourse…………………………………FOCUS Syntax-PF ………………………………………….HEAVY NP subj V unacc Syntax-discourse……..TOPIC Syntax-PF………………LIGHT V S S V

17 REFERENCES Arnold, J.E., Wasow, T., Losongco, A. and Ginstrom, R., Heaviness vs. newness: The effects of structural complexity and discourse status on constituent ordering. Language 76, Biber, D., Johansson, S., Leech, G., Conrad, S., and Finegan, E., Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English (chapter 11). Harlow: Pearson Education Limited. Birner, B.J., Information status and word order: An analysis of English inversion. Language 70, Birner, B.J., Pragmatic constraints on the verb in English inversion. Lingua 97, Birner, B.J. and Ward, G., A crosslinguistic study of postposing in discourse. Language and Speech 39, Bresnan, Locative inversion and the architecture of Universal Grammar. Language 70, Burzio, L., Italian Syntax: A Government-Binding Approach. Dordrecht: Reidel. de Miguel, E., Construcciones ergativas e inversión en la lengua y la interlengua española. In: Liceras, J.M. (ed.), La lingüística y el análisis de los sistemas no nativos, Ottawa: Dovehouse. Domínguez, L., Mapping Focus: The Syntax and Prosody of Focus in Spanish. Boston University: Unpublished PhD dissertation. Eguren, L., Fernández Soriano, O., Introducción a una sintaxis minimista. Madrid: Gredos. Fernández-Soriano, O., Sobre el orden de palabras en español. Cuadernos de Filología Hispánica 11, Granger, S., Dagneaux, E., and Meunier, F., International Corpus of Learner English [inc. CD ver 1.1]. Louvain: UCL Presses Universitaires de Louvain. Hertel, T.J., Lexical and discourse factors in the second language acquisition of Spanish word order. Second Language Research 19, Hertel, T.-J. The second language acquisition of Spanish word order: lexical and discourse factors Pennsylvania State University, PhD dissertation. Kaltenböck, G., It-extraposition and Non-extraposition in English: A Study of Syntax in Spoken and Written texts. Wilhem Braumüller. Levin, B., English Verb Classes and Alternations: A Preliminary Investigation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Levin, B. and Rappaport-Hovav, M., Unaccusativity at the Syntax-Lexical Semantics Interface. Cambridge, MASS: MIT Press. Liceras, J., Soloaga, B. and Carballo, A., Los conceptos de tema y rema: problemas sintácticos y estilísticos de la adquisición del español. Hispanic Linguistics 5, Lozano, C., Universal Grammar and focus constraints: The acquisition of pronouns and word order in non-native Spanish. University of Essex: Unpublished PhD dissertation. Lozano, C., forthcoming Focus and split intransitivity: The acquisition of word order alternations in non-native Spanish. Second Language Research 22. Lozano, C., in press b. The development of the syntax-information structure interface: Greek learners of Spanish. In: Torrens, V., Escobar, L. (eds.), The Acquisition of Syntax in Romance Languages Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Ortega-Santos, I., On Locative Inversion and the EPP in Spanish. Paper presented at the VIII Encuentro Internacinoal de Lingüística del Noroeste, Universidad de Sonora, México. Oshita, H., Is there anything there when there is not there? Null expletives and second language data. Second Language Research 20, Perlmutter, D., Impersonal passives and the Unaccusative Hypothesis. Proceedings of the Fourth Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society Berkeley: University of California. Prince, E.F., Toward a Taxonomy of Given-New Information. In: Cole, P. (ed.), Radical Pragmatics, London: Academic Press. Prince, E.F., The ZPG letter: Subjects, definiteness and information status. In: Thompson, S., Mann, W. (eds.), Discourse Description: Diverse Analyses of a Fund Raising Text, Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Rizzi, L., A parametric approach to comparative syntax: properties of the pronominal system. In: Haegeman, L. (ed.), The New Comparative Syntax, London: Longman. Quirk, R., Greenbaum, S., Leech, G. and Svartvik, J., A Grammar of Contemporary English. London: Longman. Scott, M., Oxford University Press. Oxford WordSmith Tools (version 4.0). Oxford. (Url: Torrego, E., Unergative-Unaccusative Alternations in Spanish. MIT Working Papers in Linguistics 10, Ward, G., Birner, B. and Huddleston, R., The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (chapter 16). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Zagona, K., The Syntax of Spanish. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Zobl, H., Canonical typological structures and ergativity in English L2 acquisition. In: Gass, S., Schachter, J. (eds.), Linguistic Perspectives on Second Language Acquisition, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Zubizarreta, M.L., Prosody, Focus, and Word Order. Cambridge, MASS: MIT Press.

18 Thank you!

19 Extraposition was discarded NOTE: extraposition discarded:  It only remains [ to add that nowadays we live in a world…]  It happened [ that the countries which make the weapons are…]

20 Result: VS and (un)grammaticality UNGRAMMATICAL *Nevertheless, exist other means of obtaining money which are not so honourable, but quicker. *…and from this moment begins the avarice. *On the other hand, it has appeared some cases of women that have killed their husbands… GRAMMATICAL There exist positive means of earning money. At the beginning of the play appear the main characters: Leontes, Hermione and Polixenes. …and here emerges the problem.

21 Result: VS and (in)definiteness DEFINITE …because later could appear the real evidence and the real guilty. …and usually appears the noble young man that either waste or has wasted his fortune. In the main plot appear the main characters: Volpone and Mosca. INDEFINITE …some decades ago, it appeared a new invent: the television. The play was very well performed and also appeared new elements in the stage. …it has appeared some cases of women that have killed their husbands…

22 10. Resultados: léxico-sintaxis ¿Qué pasó? Inacusativos (VS): Llegó un hombre Inergativos (SV): Un hombre gritó sign.s.sig n.s.

23 Length of postverbal subject

24 Heavy/Light scale

25 Type of VS structures


27 11. Resultados: sintaxis-discurso ¿Quién llegó / gritó? Inacusativos (VS): Llegó un hombre Inergativos (SV): Gritó un hombre sig n.s. sig


29 4. VS in native Spanish (1) Hipótesis Inacusativa (interfaz léxico- sintaxis) Inergativos: SVInacusativos: VS

30 5. VS in native Spanish (2) Foco presentacional (interfaz sintaxis- discurso) Inergativos: VSInacusativos: VS [-interp] [+interp] [-interp]

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