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The Asymmetric Behavior of Goal and Benefactive Double Objects in the English Interlanguage of Adult L1 Korean and L1 Japanese Speakers
Eunjeong Oh and Maria Luisa Zubizarreta
193-204 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


This paper investigates the acquisition of Double Object (DO) constructions by L2-English learners. The paper expands upon the study of Whong-Barr and Schwartz (W-B&S) 2002, who examined the role of overt verbal morphology in the acquisition of the English goal and benefactive DO constructions by 5 L1-Japanese children and 5 L1-Korean children: cf. licit/illicit goal DOs: give/*explain someone something; licit/illicit benefactive DOs buy/*finish someone something. W-B&S argued that Korean (but not Japanese) has a benefactive DO construction, which must be licensed by the verbal morpheme cwu-. They then predicted that if there is an L1-transfer effect of cwu-, Korean (but not Japanese) children should disallow both licit and illicit benefactive DOs in English. W-B&S's results supported this transfer-based explanation (in particular, in the domain of illicit benefactive DOs). The present paper replicates W-B&S's experiment with adult L1-Japanese and L1-Korean learners of English, using a written grammaticality judgment task. However, there are important differences between the two studies. Contra W-B&S, the present study assumes that Japanese, like Korean, does have a DO construction. Moreover, it is noted that Japanese (like Korean) also has a benefactive morpheme, ageru. Given the presence of the benefactive morphology in Korean and Japanese DOs, it is predicted that the blocking effect should hold for both Japanese and Korean learners of English acquiring the English benefactive DO construction. The results support the L1 transfer-based explanation. More specifically, these L2-learners rejected benefative DOs more strongly than goal DOs (licit as well as illicit). An alternative to the L1 transfer based explanation is also considered, namely, a lexical-based explanation, based on the different grammatical status of goal DOs and benefactive DOs. (cf. Jackendoff 1990, Kay 2001, Fillmore 1965, Goldberg 2002).

Published in

Proceedings of the 7th Generative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition Conference (GASLA 2004)
edited by Laurent Dekydtspotter, Rex A. Sprouse, and Audrey Liljestrand
Table of contents
Printed edition: $280.00