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Acquisition of the English Dative Construction by the Japanese

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Title: Acquisition of the English Dative Construction by the Japanese
Authors: Yoshinaga, Naoko
Keywords: english morphology
acquisition second language
Issue Date: 1992
Abstract: This study investigates the acquisition of the English dative constructions by Japanese speakers. The Thematic Core Theory (TCT) holds that the double object dative construction is subject to a possession constraint, a morphophonological constraint, and a narrow semantic constraint. Second language acquisition theory, based on the Fundamental Difference Hypothesis (SLA-TCT) predicts that Japanese speakers will succeed in acquiring the possession constraint but not the narrow semantic constraint. In a test of the possession and morphophonological constraints, 64 native English speakers (NSs) and 66 native speakers of Japanese (JPNs) were asked to rate the acceptability of dative constructions with novel verbs. A second experiment, NSs = 85, JPNs = 85) tested the nanow semantic constraint using both novel and real verbs. The data were analyzed using repeated measures ANOVA. The results supported the TCT and SLA-TCT. This suggests that universal grammar may not be available to adult learners oxcept through their native language.
Pages/Duration: 218 pages
Appears in Collections:Occasional Papers

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