The University of Iowa

FLARE Forum Oct. 21

October 15th, 2010

A Feature Reassembly approach to L2 knowledge of existential quantifiers

Foreign Language Acquisition Research and Education (FLARE) Forum

Date/Time: Thursday, Oct. 21 at 4 p.m.
Location: 2520D University Capitol Centre
Presenter: Heather Marsden, University of York

In current generative syntactic theory, the source of cross-linguistic syntactic variation lies within the configurations of lexical features a given language selects. Lardiere’s recent Feature Reassembly proposal about second language (L2) acquisition argues that the L2 acquisition process involves reconfiguring the sets of lexical features that occur in the native language into feature bundles appropriate to the L2 (Lardiere 2005, 2008, 2009).

This talk examines existing and new data on the L2 acquisition of existential quantifiers, with a view to evaluating the Feature Reassembly Hypothesis. Specifically, I will focus on the L2 acquisition of English any (one/thing, etc.) and of Chinese and Korean equivalents of any. These different target languages represent two different classes of existential quantifier: in Chinese and Korean, wh-words serve as existential quantifiers (in addition to their whinterrogative function), whereas English any is morpho-phonologically distinct from English wh-words. However, Chinese shares with English the fact that its existential quantifiers are polarity sensitive, whereas those in Korean are not. This range of variation in the target languages provides an ideal arena for investigation of the Feature Reassembly Hypothesis.

Refreshments will be served!

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