This paper presents preliminary results from an ongoing study that focuses on the L2 acquisition of overt and null subjects and objects in English by adult speakers of Brazilian Portuguese. Evidence suggest that learners develop their L2 grammars independently of their L1 grammars. Nevertheless, in this process a pragmatic strategy allowed in learners' L1 can lead them to accept L2 ungrammatical sentences. The results thus far indicate that certain errors in a learner's grammar may be more accurately explained in terms of a lack of knowledge about the syntax-pragmatic interface rather than as syntactic deficits per se. These preliminary results provide important new evidence concerning the primacy of syntax over pragmatics in L2 development.
Selected Proceedings of the 9th Hispanic Linguistics Symposium
edited by Nuria Sagarra and Almeida Jacqueline Toribio
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