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What About Grammar? Comprehension and Production at the Initial Stage of L2 Acquisition
Mila Tasseva-Kurktchieva
242-250 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


In the last decade the focus of generative SLA research on the acquisition of morpho-syntactic features has shifted from investigation of production of overt L2 morphology as a measure of grammatical competence to comprehension of L2 morphology (Lardiere 1998a, 1998b, 2000, White 2002, White et al. 2003). The underlying assumption is that L2 comprehension and production are in an asymmetric relationship, with comprehension (analyzed as competence) always preceding and surpassing production. It is precisely this assumption that stands behind the very few studies that draw conclusions based on both processing modes. This paper revisits the asymmetric relationship between comprehension and production by examining the L2 acquisition of the noun phrase in Bulgarian by speakers of English. This paper shows that in comprehension mode learners understand number agreement more than gender agreement, while in production mode the same learners show reverse results. The author proposes an explanation in which processing for comprehension and processing for production involve reordering of the grammatical modules. While in comprehension morpho-semantics takes the lead and syntax is engaged with its most basic grammatical functions, in production morpho-syntax takes the lead leaving semantics in a secondary position.

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