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What Metathesis Reveals about L1 and L2 Acquisition
Haruka Fukazawa and Viola Miglio
30-36 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


This paper analyzes metatheses produced by one monolingual Japanese child, by Japanese adults, and by a trilingual child with Spanish, Icelandic, and English as L1 inputs. These data show how metathesis applies differently in child language and adult language, and how this may have consequences for the acquisition of L1 and L2. The paper compares child and adult utterances in Japanese, forms of English as L2 by Japanese L1 adults, and the utterances of the two children with different L1s. The phenomena analyzed can be construed as revealing a fundamental difference between L1 and L2 acquisition (Bley-Vroman 1989), i.e., the importance of analogy (embodied by the influence of spelling) as a factor in adult utterances, as seen for instance in metathesis or as transfer in L2. Using OT, spelling influence/analogy is formally introduced in the model, contributing to the understanding of adult grammars, and consequently of L2 phonology. The novelty of the proposal lies in showing the similarities of utterances produced by children exposed to extremely different L1 environments (UG at work), and in proposing that adults can acquire constraints later in life, or at least strategies that mimic UG principles.

Published in

Proceedings of the 9th Generative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition Conference (GASLA 2007)
edited by Roumyana Slabakova, Jason Rothman, Paula Kempchinsky, and Elena Gavruseva
Table of contents
Printed edition: $280.00