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Lexical Items and Zero Morphology
Lisa Travis
315-330 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


In this paper I explore the problem of the second language acquisition of zero morphology, but in particular how this relates to knowledge of lexical items. In order to focus the discussion, in this short paper, I concentrate on the problem of telicity—where and how it is encoded cross-linguistically and what sort of problems this might raise for second language acquisition. I argue that morphology that is needed in the computation of the situation aspect of an event can appear in three different positions within an articulated vP—in X sister to V, in Aspect, and in v. The positions used will vary cross-linguistically. I look particularly at Chinese, Malagasy, Navajo, Slave, and Slavic languages. Once this framework is set up, I suggest that each of these positions can be represented by a zero morpheme that will show the same syntactic effects as the overt morpheme. Clearly a proliferation of zero morphemes which varies cross-linguistically complicates language learning considerably and the hope is that data from language acquisition can help shed light on the viability of the hypothesis.

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