In this work it is claimed that if parameters are instructions for a certain syntactic action expressed as features in the items of the (functional) lexicon, and are not specified in UG principles, in L2A they cannot and need not be transferred when UG principles are used to acquire the language. Some experimental data (collected through a written grammatical decision task) concerning the L2 acquisition of the English 's morpheme by native speakers of Italian (aged 10-12) are discussed. A statistically significant difference in target decisions is found between two different syntactic environments in which 's occurs. This result cannot be explained without the assumption that subjects try to establish the Merge properties of 's (i.e. try to set a Merge parameter, according to Rizzi's 2011 typology of parameters) through a procedure which does not include transfer from the L1 and whose source cannot be anything but UG. Transfer and setting of parametric values are thus two independent (and possibly alternative) processes. Some differences in the L1 and L2 acquisition of the English 's morpheme are finally discussed.
Proceedings of the 12th Generative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition Conference (GASLA 2013)
edited by Jennifer Cabrelli Amaro, Tiffany Judy, and Diego Pascual y Cabo Table of contents
ISBN 978-1-57473-461-4 library binding
v + 221 pages
publication date: 2013
published by Cascadilla Proceedings Project, Somerville, MA, USA