Eubank and his colleagues (1996, 1997) reported optional verb-raising during the course of L2 acquisition. Following Beck (1997), they have suggested, accordingly, that L2 knowledge of functional categories associated with feature strength is permanently impaired. In order to reexamine Eubank's proposal, this paper investigates interlanguage grammars of adult Korean speakers learning English: as in Eubank's studies, both L1 and L2 prohibit verb-raising. An oral translation task and a grammaticality judgment task were administered to explore adult Korean speakers' knowledge of L2 (ir)regular verbal morphology and verb-raising, respectively. This paper argues that despite overall suppression in adult learners' performance involving lexical verb and adverb placements, the adult L2 learners in this study as well as the study by Eubank et al. attain significant sensitivity to the discrepancy in grammaticality between unraised and raised verbs. Moreover, as far as the L2 learners' accurate use of suppletive forms is concerned, an agreement feature-checking mechanism appears to be operative in learners' grammars. These findings call for a reconsideration of Eubank's view on optionality in verb-raising in interlanguage grammars.
Proceedings of the 7th Generative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition Conference (GASLA 2004)
edited by Laurent Dekydtspotter, Rex A. Sprouse, and Audrey Liljestrand
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