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O parâmetro Pro-drop e a aquisição de segunda língua O parâmetro Pro-drop e a aquisição de segunda língua

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Author(s): Sonia Maria Lazzarini Cyrino

Journal: Semina : Ciências Sociais e Humanas
ISSN 1676-5443

Volume: 9;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 78;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Linguistics | Second language acquisition | Syntax | Government and Binding theory.

ABSTRACT
Within the Government and Binding theory (GB), it is assumed the man is equipped with some innate language structure, Universal Grammar (UG), which contains a set of inviolable principles plus some open parameters which are set by experience. One such universal principle is the Empty Category Principle (ECP), which states that an empty category must be properly governed. There are some languages which seem to violate the ECP. These languages present some properties related to missing subjects, which are said to be part of a parameter, the Pro-Drop Parameter. To overcome problems with the ECP, GB theory explains the Pro-Drop Parameter as being one of the ways by which languages may vary-the variation being, in this case, with respect to the governing relation of subject and verb The child, equipped with UG and exposed to a language such as English, sets the parameter as to not allow (phonologically) null subjects. The parameter will be set differently if the child is exposed to a language that allows null subjects. An interesting question arises when we think about the L2 learner. If L2 acquisition is a process similar to LI acquisition, we may assume the L2 learner has some access to UG. My research investigates this question. In the case of native speakers of English learning Spanish (a Pro-Drop language), I hypothesized that: a) if the L2 learner has some access to UG, after being exposed to L2 data he will "know" there is an apparent violation of the ECP; b) acquisition of the Pro-Drop Parameter should imply the acquisition of the related cluster of properties. The subjects in this experiment were asked to give grammatical judgments to sentences containing the parameter properties. The results strongly suggest the accessibility of UG for adult L2 learners when one specific claim of the theory is considered.  Within the Government and Binding theory (GB), it is assumed the man is equipped with some innate language structure, Universal Grammar (UG), which contains a set of inviolable principles plus some open parameters which are set by experience. One such universal principle is the Empty Category Principle (ECP), which states that an empty category must be properly governed. There are some languages which seem to violate the ECP. These languages present some properties related to missing subjects, which are said to be part of a parameter, the Pro-Drop Parameter. To overcome problems with the ECP, GB theory explains the Pro-Drop Parameter as being one of the ways by which languages may vary-the variation being, in this case, with respect to the governing relation of subject and verb The child, equipped with UG and exposed to a language such as English, sets the parameter as to not allow (phonologically) null subjects. The parameter will be set differently if the child is exposed to a language that allows null subjects. An interesting question arises when we think about the L2 learner. If L2 acquisition is a process similar to LI acquisition, we may assume the L2 learner has some access to UG. My research investigates this question. In the case of native speakers of English learning Spanish (a Pro-Drop language), I hypothesized that: a) if the L2 learner has some access to UG, after being exposed to L2 data he will "know" there is an apparent violation of the ECP; b) acquisition of the Pro-Drop Parameter should imply the acquisition of the related cluster of properties. The subjects in this experiment were asked to give grammatical judgments to sentences containing the parameter properties. The results strongly suggest the accessibility of UG for adult L2 learners when one specific claim of the theory is considered.
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