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Optionality and overgeneralisation patterns in second language acquisition: Where has the expletive ensconced «it»self?


Nadia Varley

This book discusses the nature of optionality in second language grammars and the indeterminacy observed in second language users’ linguistic representations. For these purposes, experimental data from 213 learners of German and 150 learners of Russian have been collected and analysed with a special focus on the acquisition of various «subjectless» and impersonal constructions as well as argument licensing. Whereas voice alternations and argument licensing are topics amply discussed in theoretical domains, their practical implementation within second language research has remained a research lacuna. This piece of work intends to fill the gap.


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Acc accusative AdvImp ‘adversity impersonal’ Ag agentive (feature) Agr agreement Aor Aorist Asp aspect Aux auxiliary BG Burzio’s Generalisation Comp complementiser Ctrl control (infinitive) Dat dative Def definite(ness) DE Definiteness Effect Dflt default DM Distributed Morphology EA external argument EPP Extended Projection Principle Expl expletive F(em) feminine Fin finite FLN Faculty of Language in narrow sense Fut future tense GB Government & Binding Theory Gen genitive GG Generative Grammar GJT Grammaticality Judgement Task GoN Genitive of Negation GoQ Genitive of Quantification IA internal argument IH ‘Interface Hypothesis’ ILG Interlanguage Imper imperative Impfv imperfective ImpMdl impersonal middle ImpPass impersonal passive 16 Ind indicative Indef indefinite Inf infinitive Infl inflection Instr instrumental case H.appl high applicative L1A/ L2A first/ second language acquisition (LA) L1/L2er L1/L2 user /speaker/learner L2 GE /L2 RU L2 German/L2 Russian LF Logical Form Loc locative case LVL level (of acquisition) M(asc) masculine MSIH ‘Missing Surface Inflection Hypothesis’ N(eut) neuter Nom nominative Case NonAct non-active feature NSL null-subject language Num number P&P Principles and Parameters Pass passive PF Phonological (perceptual) Form Pfv perfective Prf Perfect Pl plural Prn pronoun Prs Present tense Prsn person Prtcl particle Prtcpl participle Pst Past tense Sbjnct subjunctive SC small clause Sg singular SLI specific language impairment Spec specifier Spcf specific Tns tense 17 UG Universal Grammar V2 verb second VI Vocabulary insertion VP-ISH VP-internal subject hypothesis (s) statistical deviation (𝑥̅) (statistical) average

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