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Asymmetries in the production of relative clauses : first and second language acquisition

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Title: Asymmetries in the production of relative clauses : first and second language acquisition
Authors: Kim, Chae-Eun
Keywords: RC production
Issue Date: Dec 2013
Publisher: [Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [December 2013]
Abstract: This study examines the factors relevant to RC production in English and Korean. I have focused on three different pairs of RCs for comparison--(i) subject and indirect object RCs, (ii) direct object and oblique RCs, and (iii) oblique RCs with short FGDs and those with long FGDs by English-speaking children, adults, and Korean learners of English, as exemplified in (1), (2), and (3).
(1) a. Subject RC: the boy [that _ is giving a bag to a girl] b. Indirect object RC: the boy [that a girl is giving a bag to _] (2) a. Direct object RC: the book [that a boy is putting _ on a box] b. Oblique RC: the book [that the boy is putting a box on _] (3) a. Oblique RC-a short FGD the car [that the boy is walking from _ to a car] b. Oblique RC-a long FGD the church [that the boy is walking from a car to _] The results from experiments on L1 English reveal that English-speaking children have more difficulty producing indirect objects than subject RCs, more difficulty producing oblique RCs than direct object RCs, and more difficult producing oblique RCs with long FGDs than oblique RCs with short FGDs. The results from experiments on L2 English show the same asymmetries. For the English data, linear distance effects tend to be confounded with both the structural distance effects and prominence effects because the three hypotheses explain asymmetries in the same way.
In contrast, Korean, a language in which RCs precede the noun they modify, allows us to resolve this problem. The structure of RCs is such that a structurally less distant subject gap is linearly more distant from the head, whereas a linearly closer indirect object gap is structurally more distant.
Genuine asymmetries manifested in L1 English, L2 English and L1 Korean are attributed to the topic worthiness of the head, which is highest for subjects and next highest for direct objects. This is discussed in the framework of O'Grady's (2011) Difficulty Principle, which accounts for the relationship between processing difficulty and developmental path.
Description: Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2013.
Includes bibliographical references.
Appears in Collections:Ph.D. - Linguistics

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