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Bookmark and Share Paper 1028

Developmental Stages in the Semantic Acquisition of Quantification by Adult L2 Learners of English: A Pilot Study
Margo DelliCarpini
55-63 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


This paper reports the preliminary results of a study of adult English as a Second Language learners' interpretation of sentences that contain the universal quantifier (UQ) 'every'. Cross-linguistic observation (Inhelder and Piaget 1964, Lee 1991, Philip 1995) provides evidence that children learning an L1 pass through a stage where their interpretation of sentences containing the UQ every is not consistent with that of adult speakers. Conflicting analyses of the L1 data have been proposed by Philip (1991, 1992, 1995) and Crain (1995, 1996, 1998). This paper reports on pilot research that provides evidence for an analysis of the second language data in the spirit of Philip (1991, 1992, 1995): The acquisition of semantic principles necessary to interpret quantified sentences is constrained by Universal Grammar, since adult subjects presumably have adult pragmatics in place. Like the subjects in the child studies, participants in this study are operating with a grammar not consistent with the target grammar, and this paper argues that the errors are evidence of developmental stages in semantic acquisition with interlanguage forms surfacing.

Published in

Proceedings of the 6th Generative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition Conference (GASLA 2002): L2 Links
edited by Juana M. Liceras, Helmut Zobl, and Helen Goodluck
Table of contents
Printed edition: $340.00