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Is the Dog 'Frightened' or 'Frightening'? Psych Adjectives in L2 English by Speakers of Japanese and Spanish
Makiko Hirakawa and Kazunori Suzuki
134-144 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


The present study examines L2 acquisition of two types of psych adjectives in English, such as disappointed and disappointing, by Japanese-speaking and Spanish-speaking learners. In particular, it focuses on how the arguments of psych adjectives, namely Experiencer and Theme, are represented in the L2 grammar of English. According to the Thematic Hierarchy, it is the EO (Experiencer Object) type rather than the ES (Experiencer Subject) type that would be problematic if psych adjectives were to cause any problems. In addition, effects of L1 morphology are also considered. In English and Spanish, the two types of psych adjectives are distinct, marked morphologically, whereas in Japanese there are no morphological markers distinguishing the two types. Overall results from the Picture Matching Task indicate that both Japanese and Spanish learners had problems with the -ing (EO) type, suggesting that learners were constrained by universal principles. Results of the Acceptability Judgment Task further show that Japanese low proficiency learners had more problems with the -ing type than high-intermediate learners. It can be argued that these learners were affected by both universal principles and L1 morphology.

Published in

Selected Proceedings of the 2012 Second Language Research Forum: Building Bridges between Disciplines
edited by Ryan T. Miller, Katherine I. Martin, Chelsea M. Eddington, Ashlie Henery, Nausica Marcos Miguel, Alison M. Tseng, Alba Tuninetti, and Daniel Walter
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Printed edition: $290.00