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High Applicatives in the Interlanguage of L2 Learners of French Elena Shimanskaya The University of Iowa SLA graduate students symposium 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "High Applicatives in the Interlanguage of L2 Learners of French Elena Shimanskaya The University of Iowa SLA graduate students symposium 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 High Applicatives in the Interlanguage of L2 Learners of French Elena Shimanskaya The University of Iowa SLA graduate students symposium 2011

2 OUTLINE 1.The main hypothesis and SLA theory 2.The property: low and high applicative 3.Learning tasks 4.Previous research 5.Research questions 6.Tasks 7.Participants 8.Results 9.Discussion 10.Conclusions

3 1. The main hypothesis and SLA theory Assumption: only relevant functional categories are activated in the grammar of each language (White, 2003) 2 logical possibilities for L2A L2 learners can acquire a new functional category L2 learners will be unable to acquire a new functional category Full Access to UG: Schwartz and Sprouse (1996), Epstein et al. (1996), Flynn and Martohardjono (1994), Flynn (1996) UG unavailable in L2A: Fundamental Difference Hypothesis (Bley-Vroman, 1990), No Parameter Resetting view (Hawkins and Chan, 1997)

4 1. The main hypothesis and SLA theory Can new functional categories or rather new configurations involving functional projections be acquired in the process of L2A?

5 OUTLINE 1.The main hypothesis and SLA theory 2.The property: low and high applicative 3.Learning tasks 4.Previous research 5.Research questions 6.Tasks 7.Participants 8.Results 9.Discussion 10.Conclusions

6 2. The property: low and high applicative Benefactive and adversative datives Some terminology (Crystal, 2008) Benefactive “a case form or construction whose function in a sentence is to express the notion ‘on behalf of’ or ‘for the benefit of’. A benefactive form (‘a benefactive’) expresses the sense of ‘intended recipient’, and is often introduced by a for phrase in English, e.g. I’ve got a book for you. (52) Adversative “a form or construction which expresses an antithetical circumstance. Adversative meaning can be expressed in several grammatical ways, such as through a conjunction (but), adverbial (however, nevertheless, yet, in spite of that, on the other hand), or preposition (despite, except, apart from, notwithstanding).” (15)

7 2. The property: low and high applicative Adversative (1)/benefactive (2) dative pronouns can be found in French but not in English: (1) Les invités lui ont mangé tout ce qu’il y avait dans le frigo. The guests dat.3sg aux. eaten all that that-it there had in the fridge The guests ate everything in the fridge on him/her. (Roberge and Troberg, 2009: 256) (2) Elmer lui a dévalisé deux banques le mois dernier. Elmer dat.3sg aux. robbed two banks the month last Elmer robbed two banks for him last month. (Rouveret and Vergnaud, 1980: 170)

8 2. The property: low and high applicative Bantu languages (Pylkkänen, 2008) Certain non-core arguments are introduced in the specifier of the so-called ‘applicative heads’ that can take the form of special applicative morphemes. The addition of this special morpheme to a verb allows the verb to take an argument that expresses a beneficiary of the action. French adversative /benefactive dative clitic pronouns are analyzed as applicative heads. (Roberge and Troberg, 2009) (3) N – a – i – lyi – i – a m–ka k–elya FOC - 1SG - PRES - eat - APPL - FV 1-wife 7-food He is eating food for his wife. (Pylkkänen, 2000: 1)

9 2. The property: low and high applicative High Applicatives merged above the verbal projection and take the entire VP as their complement He is eating food for his wife. Low Applicatives merged below the verb and only take the theme as their complement I baked him a cake. Cross linguistically: Some languages have both high and low applicatives, e.g. Spanish (Cuervo, 2003), some only one e.g. English double object construction is introduced via a low applicative head (Pylkkänen, 2008)

10 2. The property: low and high applicative English double object construction is introduced via a low applicative head (Pylkkänen, 2008) No high applicative in English (Pylkkänen, 2008). Two tests: 1. dative argument with an unergative verb: (4) *I ran him. 2. dative pronoun with a static verb (5) *I held him the bag.

11 1. a dative constituent is “only acceptable in its clitic form, it may not be expressed as an à-phrase” (8) Les invités lui ont mangé tout ce qu’il y avait dans le frigo. The guests ate everything in the fridge on him/her. versus (9) *Les invités ont mangé tout ce qu’il y avait dans le frigo à Marc. ‘The guests ate everything in the fridge on Marc.’ 2. the dative clitic in French “…must c- command a referential DP” (10) Paul lui a bu trois pastis. Paul him pst. drank three pastis. Paul drank three pastis on him. versus (11) *Paul lui a bu. Paul drank on him.’ (Roberge and Troberg, 2009: 256) dative clitic = appl morpheme PP = applied argument The applied argument can only be merged in the spec of the applicative projection. But, you cannot have a PP in the spec Need to merge something in spec  operator Operator needs to be bound  need a referential DP 2. The property: low and high applicative French adversative/benefactive dative clitics as high applicatives

12 2. The property: low and high applicative 1. English has only low applicative (e.g. double object construction) 2. French has high applicative in its inventory of functional categories. High applicative heads express a distinct semantic meaning (introduce an individual that is positively or negatively affected by the event) and show certain restrictions related to their syntax (Roberge and Troberg, 2009 ): 2a. dative clitic = applicative morpheme 2b. operator is merged in the specifier of the applicative projection

13 OUTLINE 1.The main hypothesis and SLA theory 2.The property: low and high applicative 3.Learning tasks 4.Previous research 5.Research questions 6.Tasks 7.Participants 8.Results 9.Discussion 10.Conclusions

14 3. Learning tasks 1. restructure the grammar to allow for the applicative head to be merged above the VP in L2; 2. determine that unlike L1 (double object construction), the applied argument introduced in the specifier position (null pro in French) does not establish the relation of possession with the direct object, but introduces an argument that is affected by the entire event expressed by the VP; 3. find out that the applicative head is not null in L2, but is realized as a dative clitic; 4. determine that in L2 in order for the VP to be able to add an affected applied argument it has to contain a referential DP that can bind the operator in the spec of the ApplP. L1 English L2 French prepositional phrases (not cliticized to the verb in English) or periphrastic constructions dative clitics

15 3. Learning tasks Some additional notes: 1.The structure under investigation (adversative/benefactive dative) is not taught in L2 classrooms 2.Neither the learners nor the native speakers are aware of the syntactic restrictions discussed by Roberge and Troberg (2009). 3.The property that is being tested in this study is associated with colloquial language and requires an appropriate pragmatic context in order for the sentences to be treated as grammatical by native speakers.

16 OUTLINE 1.The main hypothesis and SLA theory 2.The property: low and high applicative 3.Learning tasks 4.Previous research 5.Research questions 6.Tasks 7.Participants 8.Results 9.Discussion 10.Conclusions

17 4. Previous research Cuervo (2007) EngSpanish dative alternation GJT +morphosyntax - semantic distinctions Sikorska (2009) PolishSpanish low applicatives GJT did not analyze the clitic as a productive morphological element

18 OUTLINE 1.The main hypothesis and SLA theory 2.The property: low and high applicative 3.Learning tasks 4.Previous research 5.Research questions 6.Tasks 7.Participants 8.Results 9.Discussion 10.Conclusions

19 5. Research questions Can L2 learners acquire a new structural configuration that is not found in their L1? Can L2 learners correctly interpret the structure that is not found in their L1? RQ1: Do L2 learners consider sentences with adversative dative as grammatical? RQ2: Are L2 learners of French sensitive to the restriction on the adversative/benefactive datives and reject sentences without a referential VP-internal DP? RQ3: Have the learners acquired the adversative meaning associated with the construction when provided with an appropriate discourse?

20 OUTLINE 1.The main hypothesis and SLA theory 2.The property: low and high applicative 3.Learning tasks 4.Previous research 5.Research questions 6.Tasks 7.Participants 8.Results 9.Discussion 10.Conclusions

21 6. Tasks Grammaticality judgment task Condition 1 (n=5) Adversative/benefactive dative + VP- internal DP: Paul lui a bu trois pastis. Paul him pst. drank three pastis Paul drank three pastis on him. Condition 2 (n=5) Adversative/benefactive dative + no VP-internal DP: *Paul lui a bu. Paul drank on him. Fillers (n=10): total of 20 Instructions: “perfect” = 4 “okay” = 3 “awkward” = 2 “horrible” = 1 “no intuition” Truth-value judgment task A story followed by 2 sentences: true or false? 5 pairs of stories: 10 stories + 10 distractor stories = 20 stories total 2×2 design Paper and pencil format An adversely affected individual is supported by the story not supported by the story Dative clitic truefalse No dative clitic true

22 OUTLINE 1.The main hypothesis and SLA theory 2.The property: low and high applicative 3.Learning tasks 4.Previous research 5.Research questions 6.Tasks 7.Participants 8.Results 9.Discussion 10.Conclusions

23 7. Participants In order to eliminate the influence of L1 as a factor in the performance of the L2 learner, I gave English translation of the truth value judgment task to one native speaker of English Native speakerL2 subject Age3222 OccupationFrench TA Years studying FrenchN/A10 years Abroad experienceN/A Quebec city – 3 months, France – 10 months Other foreign languages English advancedItalian beginner

24 OUTLINE 1.The main hypothesis and SLA theory 2.The property: low and high applicative 3.Learning tasks 4.Previous research 5.Research questions 6.Tasks 7.Participants 8.Results 9.Discussion 10.Conclusions

25 8. Results Both subjects performed well on the fillers Dative cliticFillers Condition 1 Grammatical with a DP Condition 2 Ungramm. without a DP GrammaticalUngramm. Native Speaker L2 learner Grammaticality judgment task (mean scores)

26 8. Results The native speaker did not find the sentences with the adversative/benefactive dative clitic “perfect”. Dative cliticFillers Condition 1 Grammatical with a DP Condition 2 Ungramm. without a DP GrammaticalUngramm. Native Speaker L2 learner Grammaticality judgment task (mean scores)

27 8. Results The L2 learner on average rated the ungrammatical sentences with an adversative/benefactive dative clitic higher, than the native speaker. Dative cliticFillers Condition 1 Grammatical with a DP Condition 2 Ungramm. without a DP GrammaticalUngramm. Native Speaker L2 learner Grammaticality judgment task (mean scores)

28 8. Results However, the L2 learner rated these ungrammatical sentences lower than the grammatical counterparts. Dative cliticFillers Condition 1 Grammatical with a DP Condition 2 Ungramm. without a DP GrammaticalUngramm. Native Speaker L2 learner Grammaticality judgment task (mean scores)

29 8. Results Both the native speaker and the L2 learner correctly answered “True” to all the sentences without the clitic on both experimental conditions (stories with and without an adversely affected individual). Thus, I do not include these results here. The truth-value judgment task An adversely affected individual is supported by the story not supported by the story Dative clitic true Condition 1 false Condition 2 No dative clitic true

30 8. Results All the three subjects performed well on the distractor-stories. Accuracy of the truth-value judgment task Sentences with a clitic Distractors Condition 1 affected individual + clitic Condition 2 no affected individual + clitic Native speaker100% L2 learner80%20%96% English control40%80%94%

31 8. Results The L2 learner basically accepted as true the sentences with the dative clitic in spite of the context. She accepted 80% of sentences with a clitic that followed a story that contained an adversely affected individual. However, she also failed to reject in 80% of cases the sentence with a clitic after the stories that did not contain an affected individual. Accuracy of the truth-value judgment task Sentences with a clitic Distractors Condition 1 affected individual + clitic Condition 2 no affected individual + clitic Native speaker100% L2 learner80%20%96% English control40%80%94%

32 8. Results Control English : he was more willing to reject sentences with a dative pronoun which produced target-like results in condition 2. However, he also rejected as false 40% of sentences with the clitic that followed the stories that actually contained an affected individual. Accuracy of the truth-value judgment task Sentences with a clitic Distractors Condition 1 affected individual + clitic Condition 2 no affected individual + clitic Native speaker100% L2 learner80%20%96% English control40%80%94%

33 OUTLINE 1.The main hypothesis and SLA theory 2.The property: low and high applicative 3.Learning tasks 4.Previous research 5.Research questions 6.Tasks 7.Participants 8.Results 9.Discussion 10.Conclusions

34 9. Discussion RQ1: Does the L2 learner consider the sentences with adversative dative as grammatical? Yes. The degree of acceptability is close to that of a native speaker: 3 for the L2 learner versus 3.2 for a native speaker RQ2: Is the L2 learner of French sensitive to the restriction on the adversative/benefactive datives and rejects sentences without a referential VP-internal DP? RQ3: Has the learner acquired the adversative meaning associated with the construction when provided with an appropriate discourse?

35 9. Discussion RQ1: Does the L2 learner consider the sentences with adversative dative as grammatical? RQ2: Is the L2 learner of French sensitive to the restriction on the adversative/benefactive datives and rejects sentences without a referential VP- internal DP? The L2 learner showed the contrast (3 for grammatical and 2.25 for ungrammatical). However the contrast is sharper in the grammar of the native speaker (3.2 for grammatical and 1 for ungrammatical sentences). RQ3: Has the learner acquired the adversative meaning associated with the construction when provided with an appropriate discourse?

36 9. Discussion RQ1: Does the L2 learner consider sentences with adversative dative as grammatical? RQ2: Is the L2 learner sensitive to the restriction on the adversative/benefactive datives and rejects sentences without a referential VP-internal DP? RQ3: Has the learner acquired the adversative meaning associated with the construction when provided with an appropriate discourse? No. The L2 learner was not sensitive to the context in which the construction can be used. Instead, she accepted sentences with the clitic as true in spite of the context.

37 9. Discussion Can L2 learners acquire a new structural configuration that is not found in their L1? Looks like the answer is positive (the results of the GJT). Can L2 learners correctly interpret the structure that is not found in their L1? Interprets it differently than in L1 (English control treated most of the sentences with dative pronouns as false), but not target-like. The L2 learner considered most of the sentences with dative pronouns as true in spite of the context.

38 9. Discussion The restructuring of grammar is possible in principle Bottleneck Hypothesis (Slabakova, 2008): the acquisition of morphology is a necessary prerequisite for acquiring the semantics The restructuring of the syntactic representation does not automatically guarantee the acquisition of semantics The L2 learner has already noticed the presence of the dative clitic in this construction However, the L2 learner is still in the process of constructing an appropriate semantic interpretation

39 OUTLINE 1.The main hypothesis and SLA theory 2.The property: low and high applicative 3.Learning tasks 4.Previous research 5.Research questions 6.Tasks 7.Participants 8.Results 9.Discussion 10.Conclusions

40 Can new functional categories or rather new configurations involving functional projections be acquired in the process of L2A? Property: the acquisition of the high applicative head found in the adversative/benefactive construction in French by L2 learners whose L1 (English) does not have this syntactic configuration in its inventory. Findings: the L2 subject has acquired the syntactic restrictions imposed on the L2 construction, but is not aware of an appropriate semantic context  do not disprove the possibility of successful acquisition of new functional categories or new structural configurations But, the findings suggest that the acquisition of semantics follows the acquisition of syntax and, possibly, constitutes an additional developmental stage

41 10. Conclusions Limitations 1.The property is very subtle, since even the native speaker participant only rated the sentences that were designed to be grammatical as acceptable, but did not give them the maximum points for grammaticality. 2.The minimal number of participants

42 References Authier, J.-M. and L. Reed Case theory, theta theory, and the distribution of French affected datives. The Linguistic Review 9:4. 295–311. Bley-Vroman, R The logical problem of foreign language learning. Linguistic Analysis, Cheng, L. and R. Sybesma Bare and not-so-bare nouns and the structure of NP. Linguistic Inquiry, Cuervo, C Datives at large. Doctoral dissertation, MIT, Cambridge, MA. Cuervo, C Double objects in Spanish as a second language: Acquisition of morphosyntax and semantics. SSLA Epstein, S., S. Flynn and G. Martohardjono Second language acquisition: theoretical and experimental issues in contemporary research. Brain and Behavioral Sciences 19, 677–758. Flynn, S A parameter-setting approach to second language acquisition. In W. Ritchie and T. Bhatia (eds.), Handbook of language acquisition (pp ). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Flynn, S. and G. Martohardjono Mapping from the intial state to the final state: the separation of universal principles and language- specific principles. In B. Lust, M. Suñer and J. Whitman (eds.), Syntactic theory and first language acquisition: cross-linguistic perspective. Vol. 1: Heads, projections and learnability (pp ). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Hawkins, R. and C. Y.-H. Chan The partial availability of Universal Grammar in second language acquisition: the 'failed functional features hypothesis. Second Language Research Leclère, C Datifs syntaxiques et datif éthique. In J.-C. Chevalier & M. Gross (eds.), Méthodes en grammaire française, 73–96. Paris: Klincksieck. Pylkkänen, L What applicative heads apply to. Proceedings of the 24 th Annual Penn Linguistics Colloquium. U. Penn Working Papers in Linguistics, Pylkkänen, L Introducing Arguments. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT-Press. Roberge, Y. and Troberg, M The high applicative syntax of the datives commodi/incommodi in Romance. Probus 21, 249–289. Rooryck, J Critères formels pour le datif non lexical en français. Studia Neophilologica –107. Rouveret, A. and J.-R. Vernaud Specifying reference to the subject: French causatives and conditions on representations. Linguistic Inquiry –202. Schwartz, B. D. and R. A. Sprouse L2 cognitive states and the Full Transfer/Full Access model. Second Language Research Schwartz, B.D. and R. Sprouse L2 cognitive states and the full transfer/full access model. Second Language Research, Sikorska, M Low applicative datives in Spanish as a second language: acquisition of semantics and morphosyntax. RESLA, Slabakova R Meaning in the second language. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Slabakova, R Semantic evidence for functional categories in interlanguage grammars. Second Language Research, 24: Tremblay, A Theoretical and methodological perspectives on the use of grammaticality judgment tasks in linguistic theory. Second Language Studies, 24: White, L Second language acquisition and Universal Grammar. New York: Cambridge University Press.

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