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The first and second language acquisition of negative polarity items in English and Korean

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Item Summary

Title:The first and second language acquisition of negative polarity items in English and Korean
Authors:Song, Min Sun
Contributors:O'Grady, William (advisor)
Linguistics (department)
Date Issued:Dec 2003
Publisher:University of Hawaii at Manoa
Abstract:This dissertation reports on five experimental studies investigating the first and second language acquisition of Negative Polarity Items (NPIs) in English and Korean. English-speaking children aged 3 to 5 and three English as a second language (ESL) groups participated in Experiments 1 and 2. The aim of these experiments was to investigate the use of any-type NPIs in simple sentences in English by means of an elicited production task. Experiments 3 and 4 made use of an elicited production task to examine the production of Korean amwu-type NPIs in simple sentences by Korean-speaking children aged 3 to 6 and by three Korean as a second language (KSL) groups. Experiment 5 drew on an oral completion task to investigate the production of NPIs in four types of bi-clausal English sentences by three groups of Korean-speaking ESL learners. The English-speaking children in Experiment I produced negative pronouns in subject position, but not a single NPI was produced there, whereas they produced negative pronouns as well as NPIs in object position. In Experiment 2, the ESL learners' responses exhibited a subject/object asymmetry for NPIs in English. All three ESL groups produced over 50% NPIs in object position, indicating that they prefer NPIs over negative pronouns there. In Experiment 3, Korean-speaking children as young as age 3 produced nearly as many NPIs in subject and object positions in Korean as native Korean-speaking adults did. Their responses exhibited no subject/object asymmetry. The KSL learners in Experiment 4 produced a roughly equal number of NPIs in subject and object positions in Korean. The more fluent the KSL learners were, the more frequently they produced NPIs. In addition, the KSL learners produced relative clause patterns instead of NPIs in subject and object positions, apparently as a way of avoiding NPIs. The ESL learners' responses in Experiment 5 indicated that the less fluent they were, the less frequently they produced NPIs. Especially worthy of note is the fact that the ESL learners in EI and Ell did not produce NPIs in subject and object positions in an embedded clause when a negative occurs in a matrix clause.
Description:xxii, 214 leaves
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Linguistics

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