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Origins of Complex Syntax in Interlanguage Development

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Title: Origins of Complex Syntax in Interlanguage Development
Authors: Sato, Charlene
Issue Date: 1987
Abstract: Functionalist analyses of interlanguage (IL) development have been concerned to establish the discoursepragmatic foundations of morphosyntax. A number of domains have been investigated in such work, including referentiality, topiccomment encoding, and temporal reference. The present study extends the focus to the encoding of simple and complex propositions in IL.
Through a longitudinal analysis of conversational data from two Vietnamese learners of American English, the study examines propositional syntax with direct reference to discoursepragmatic factors in face-to-face interaction, in particular, to learners' reliance on the collaboration of their (English-speaking) interlocutors. Syntacticization - movement from highly context-dependent, "paratactic" speech to more explicit, morphosyntactically enco9ed speech - is observed in (1) high proportions of propositional utterances in both learners' speech, (2) a tendency to distribute propositional content over single utterances, and (3) little interlocutor collaboration in the encoding of complex propositions. Parataxis is found in the encoding of complex propositions: a low rate of multipropositional utterances (MPUs) is observed throughout the study, as well as a preference for juxtaposed rather than morphologically bound MPUs. Of note is a difference in the developmental paths of complementation and modification. Production of the former but not the latter appears to be facilitated by the existence of specific lexical entry points.
Pages/Duration: 57 pages
Appears in Collections:Working Papers

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