Previously reported findings indicated a perfect correlation between clausal finiteness and the form of pronominal subjects in the L2 English spoken production data of Patty, a native Chinese speaker whose L2 endstate grammar is the subject of an ongoing long-term case study. In this paper, the source of the discrepancy between Patty's evident knowledge of the finite/nonfinite distinction (presumably involving a formal feature in T) and her apparently non-native-like control of past tense marking in English is examined. A more detailed breakdown of Patty's past tense marking by verb type is presented for both spoken and written production data, as well as an analysis of the data with respect to several factors related to past tense marking in previous SLA literature, including phonological cluster reduction, the role of lexical aspect (the Aspect Hypothesis), the role of discourse grounding (the Discourse Hypothesis), and the possible significance of past form (ir)regularity and frequency (the Declarative/Procedural model). Finally, I reconsider what it actually means to acquire 'past tense' in English, arguing that the acquisition of target-like past tense marking involves the learning of a many-to-one mapping of function to form, and is not likely to entail the re-setting of a parameter consisting of the presence or absence of a single, unitary, interpretable feature as proposed.
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