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L2 English Generics: Japanese Child Returnees' Incomplete Acquisition or Attrition?
Neal Snape, Makiko Hirakawa, Yahiro Hirakawa, Hironobu Hosoi, and John Matthews
155-169 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


The current study looks at a complex area of article semantics, namely genericity. We adopt the analysis of generics by Krifka et al. (1995) who provide a clear distinction between definite singular generics that refer to species, e.g., The brown bear is widespread through North America, and indefinite singular generics which provide a general description, e.g., A little puppy needs a lot of time and attention. We administered an acceptability judgment task to four Japanese child returnees who spent between 8-12 years in the U.S. Our results show that the four child returnees have difficulty with both types of generics in the singular and plural conditions. The findings are consistent with Lardiere's (2009) Feature Reassembly Hypothesis in that despite many years of exposure the returnees fail to map the [+species] feature to the definite singular the.

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