The Emergence of Grammar in Systems of Iconic and Indexical ...

The Emergence of Grammar in Systems of Iconic and Indexical ...

How students acquire things you never teach them Robert Kluender Department of Linguistics, UCSD UCCLLT Workshop on Grammar and Language Teaching June 20, 2004 Is L2 acquisition like L1 acquisition? The results of critical period research: there is a definite decline in ultimate attainment with age across childhood it affects L1A more than L2A

unclear how much of it is biological phonology correlates better with AoA than morphosyntax (but accentless non-native speakers seem to exist) Is L2 acquisition like L1 acquisition? Often it is assumed that L2A differs from L1A most in terms of implicit learning However, there is also very clear

evidence of implicit learning in L2A What would constitute proof? The best evidence for implicit learning in L1A is reorganization We identify L1 reorganization by a temporary increase in systematic errors, the U-shaped learning curve

Is there any evidence for a U-shaped learning curve in L2 acquisition? The strange case of unaccusatives Why unaccusative verbs are a good test case for implicit learning: they are found in every language, i.e. are a well-attested linguistic universal they behave systematically they are not theory-dependent nobody knows about them, so they cant possibly be explicitly taught An aside/exhortation from my

hobbyhorse soapbox bully pulpit An aside/exhortation from my hobbyhorse soapbox bully pulpit Stop drilling! (BVP) An aside/exhortation from my hobbyhorse soapbox bully pulpit Stop drilling for UG! (RK)

An aside/exhortation from my hobbyhorse soapbox bully pulpit Stop drilling for Universal Grammar! An aside/exhortation from my hobbyhorse soapbox bully pulpit Stop drilling for L2 evidence of movement constraints ! wh-

An aside/exhortation from my hobbyhorse soapbox bully pulpit Even assuming that they are part of Universal Grammar, wh-movement constraints are a moving target as to their overall status in the theory their current theoretical formulation Accumulating evidence that they are instead a processing phenomenon

The strange case of unaccusatives native speakers are naturally unaware of this phenomenon in their 1 st language its never taught to them in school

2nd language learners are never exposed to it, because 2nd language teachers dont know about it, either 2nd language learners acquire it nonetheless What are unaccusative verbs? the unfortunate name stems from Perlmutter (1977),

who first discussed the phenomenon unaccusatives are intransitive verbs whose subject is the undergoer (also called patient or theme) rather than the agent of the action Two types of intransitive verbs unergative verbs subject is AGENT

She left. She lay down. She hid. unaccusative verbs subject is UNDERGOER She arrived. She fell. She disappeared.

Some unaccusative verbs have transitive counterparts transitive form: The heat melted the butter. unaccusative form:

The butter melted. transitive form: The children broke the vase. unaccusative form: The vase broke. Some unaccusative verbs have transitive counterparts

transitive form: The heat melted the butter. unaccusative form: The butter melted. transitive form: The children broke the vase. unaccusative form: The vase broke. Tests for unaccusativity: agentive -er suffixation in English

She arrived. She fell. She disappeared. *arriver *faller

*disappearer Tests for unaccusativity Italian: auxiliary selection in passato prossimo (Lei) arrivata / caduta / sparita. she is arrived fallen disappeared *ha arrivata / caduta / sparita. has arrived fallen

disappeared Tests for unaccusativity Italian passive and reflexive verbs also take essere (to be) as auxiliary in passato prossimo This means that all undergoer subjects take essere as auxiliary in Italian passato prossimo

Tests for unaccusativity Of all the Romance languages, Italian has best retained the Latin distinction between esse and habere, French has retained it to some degree but lost other parts of it, while the other Romance languages have lost it altogether Tests for unaccusativity

German and Dutch make very similar distinctions in the perfect tenses (e.g. Sie ist hingefallen in German) The distinction used to exist in English, but now is found only in archaic usage (e.g. Christian hymns) Joy to the world, the Lord is come Alleluia, He is risen Another appeal for the inclusion of linguistic knowledge in L2 teaching

Consider how torturous it is using traditional grammar to explain which verbs take be as auxiliary in perfect tenses of European languages, and then consider how much easier your life might be in this regard if you referred to the L2 literature on unaccusative verbs (Sorace 1993a) Tests for unaccusativity Italian: ne-cliticization

transitive verbs: Mario ha letto molte lettere Mario has read many letters Mario ne ha letto molte Mario of=them has read many Tests for unaccusativity Italian: ne-cliticization intransitive (unergative) verbs: Hanno lavorato molte persone have worked many persons *Ne

hanno lavorato molte of=them have worked many Tests for unaccusativity Italian: ne-cliticization intransitive (unaccusative) verbs: Sono arrivate molte persone are arrived many persons Ne sono arrivate molte of=them are arrived many

Tests for unaccusativity Italian: ne-cliticization transitive verbs: Mario ha letto molte lettere Mario has read many letters Mario ne ha letto molte Mario of=them has read many Generalizations from our tests

English unaccusatives do not allow agentive -er suffixation because they do not take agent arguments only verbs with undergoer subjects (unaccusative, passive, and reflexive) take essere as auxiliary in Italian only verbs with undergoer arguments (i.e. transitive objects & unaccusative subjects) allow Italian ne-cliticization Preliminary conclusions

Unaccusative verbs have undergoer subjects Remarkably enough, L2 learners unconsciously seem to pick up on this The unaccusative hierarchy (Sorace 1993a/2000)

change of location [selects BE ] change of state/condition continuation of a pre-existing state existence of state/condition change of state-transitive counterpart uncontrolled process controlled process (motional)

controlled process (non-motional) [selects HAVE ] The unaccusative hierarchy (Sorace 2000)

arrive, fall [selects BE ] change of state/condition continuation of a pre-existing state existence of state/condition change of state-transitive counterpart uncontrolled process controlled process (motional) controlled process (non-motional) [selects HAVE ] The unaccusative hierarchy (Sorace 2000)

arrive, fall [selects BE ] become, disappear, die continuation of a pre-existing state existence of state/condition change of state-transitive counterpart

uncontrolled process controlled process (motional) controlled process (non-motional) [selects HAVE ] The unaccusative hierarchy (Sorace 2000)

arrive, fall [selects BE ] become, disappear, die stay, remain existence of state/condition change of state-transitive counterpart uncontrolled process controlled process (motional) controlled process (non-motional) [selects HAVE ] The unaccusative hierarchy

(Sorace 2000) arrive, fall [selects BE ] become, disappear, die stay, remain

be, seem change of state-transitive counterpart uncontrolled process controlled process (motional) controlled process (non-motional) [selects HAVE ] The unaccusative hierarchy (Sorace 2000)

arrive, fall [selects BE ] become, disappear, die stay, remain be, seem break, melt, sink uncontrolled process controlled process (motional) controlled process (non-motional) [selects HAVE ]

The unaccusative hierarchy (Sorace 2000) arrive, fall [selects BE ]

become, disappear, die stay, remain be, seem break, melt, sink blush, tremble, shine controlled process (motional) controlled process (non-motional) [selects HAVE ] The unaccusative hierarchy (Sorace 2000)

arrive, fall [selects BE ] become, disappear, die stay, remain be, seem break, melt, sink blush, tremble, shine run, dance, swim

controlled process (non-motional) [selects HAVE ] The unaccusative hierarchy (Sorace 2000)

arrive, fall [selects BE ] become, disappear, die stay, remain be, seem break, melt, sink blush, tremble, shine run, dance, swim talk, work [selects HAVE ] The unaccusative hierarchy (Sorace 1993a) The hierarchy embodies the fact that

the notion of dynamic change, whose most concrete manifestation is change of location, is at the root of unaccusativity, and identifies verbs of directed motion as core cases for essere/tre-selection. (Sorace 1993a: 81) L2 sensitivity to semantic aspects of unaccusativity (Sorace 1993b) Subjects English/French near-native speakers of Italian in Italy, no Italian origins began learning after age 15 (18-27),

average 9 years of exposure (5-15) Materials and Procedure acceptability judgements on auxiliary selection with unaccusative verbs L2 sensitivity to semantic aspects of unaccusativity (Sorace 1993b) L2 sensitivity to semantic aspects of unaccusativity (Sorace 1993b)

L2 speakers were sensitive to unaccusative hierarchy categories Only native speakers had significantly different judgements between the two auxiliaries in every category L2 speakers had significantly different judgements between auxiliaries only at the high end of the hierarchy (two highest categories) L2 sensitivity to semantic aspects

of unaccusativity (Sorace 1993b) L2 sensitivity to unaccusativity L2 learners are sensitive to the unaccusative hierarchy and the semantic distinctions between verb subtypes that it represents Is this only because these are highly advanced, near-native learners?

Is there any evidence for a Ushaped learning curve in L2A? L2 learners passivize unaccusatives *He was arrived early. *My mother was died when I was just a baby. *This problem is existed for many years. *Most of people are fallen in love and marry with somebody. Unaccusative passivization errors

(Oshita 1998/2000) Unaccusative passivization errors (Oshita 1998/2000) Is there any evidence for a Ushaped learning curve in L2A?

Learners are never exposed to these errors in input from native speakers They occur in the output of ESL students of diverse L1 backgrounds They appear only at advanced or high intermediate levels of L2 instruction Even at this level, L2 usage of unaccusatives is 90% error-free Why these particular errors?

Recall that unaccusative verbs pattern with passive verbs in Italian with regard to auxiliary selection, as both have undergoer subjects Passive verbs in English also have undergoer subjects, and require passive verbal morphology Why these particular errors? Sentence 3 Subject Verb phrase # 3

# Verb Direct object # # # # # # Robin killed Kelly AGENT PATIENT Why these particular errors?

Sentence 3 Subject Verb phrase # 3 # Verb Direct object # # # # # # was killed Kelly PATIENT

Why these particular errors? Sentence 3 Subject Verb phrase # 3 # Verb Direct object # # # # # #

was killed Kelly PATIENT Why these particular errors? Sentence 3 Subject Verb phrase # 3 # Verb Direct object # # # #

# # Kelly was killed [ ] PATIENT Why these particular errors? Sentence 3 Subject Verb phrase # 3 # Verb Direct object #

# # # # # died Kelly PATIENT Why these particular errors? Sentence 3 Subject Verb phrase

# 3 # Verb Direct object # # # # # # died Kelly PATIENT

Why these particular errors? Sentence 3 Subject Verb phrase # 3 # Verb Direct object # # # # # # Kelly died

[ ] PATIENT Why these particular errors? Sentence 3 Subject Verb phrase # 3 # Verb Direct object # # #

# # # Kelly *was died [ ] PATIENT Why these particular errors? Sentence 3 Subject Verb phrase # 3 # Verb Direct object

# # # # # # Kelly was killed [ ] PATIENT Why these particular errors?

By hypothesis, when learners recognize that there is an undergoer (patient) in subject position, they associate this with passive morphology on the verb (be), and therefore passivize the verb even if it is not needed, as is the case with unaccusative verbs (Oshita 1998/2000) Why these particular errors?

Note that this is a perfectly reasonable mistake to be making: it shows unconscious sensitivity to the presence of undergoer arguments in subject position, and analogizes a known morphosyntactic pattern for such subjects.

This is pretty sophisticated; presumably this is why it occurs late. Is this a U-shaped learning curve? Oshita (1998/2000) claims that it is But there was no empirical evidence: The data show the middle of a slump, but no early error-free period,

and no subsequent recovery So is this a U-shaped learning curve or just a nose dive that learners never pull out of? Follow-up: Klieman & Kluender Corpus study of writing samples from advanced ESL students in the Chinese Learner English Corpus 6% unaccusative passivization rate passivization more than twice as frequent as other unaccusative errors more errors at intermediate levels,

but same % of passivization errors Percentage of passivization errors Percentage of passivization errors Follow-up: Klieman & Kluender Spoken/written production, error detection in Russian L2 speakers of English modified ILR OPI no differences in spoken elicitation,

but errors only at level 2+ and below ability in error detection significantly different by proficiency level Error detection by proficiency level Follow-up: Klieman & Kluender Spoken/written production, error detection in Russian L2 speakers of English no differences in spoken elicitation, but errors only at level 2+ and below

ability in error detection significantly different by proficiency level Follow-up: Klieman & Kluender Spoken/written production, error detection in Russian L2 speakers of English no differences in spoken elicitation, but errors only at level 2+ and below ability in error detection significantly different by proficiency level written production errors only at level 2+ and below

Follow-up: Klieman & Kluender Clear evidence for recovery at level 3 But is this merely circular evidence? No unaccusative passivization errors because no systematic errors of grammar at level 3 and above?

But unaccusativity is not targeted by, or even on the radar screen of OPI In any case, the problem goes away But is it a U-shaped learning curve? Its at least a J-shaped learning curve Still no reliable data from early L2A: Initial attempts to use the same procedures on low-proficiency Russian

learners failed At a minimum, there is evidence for implicit learning and reorganization Summary: L2 sensitivity to unaccusativity L2 learners are sensitive to semantic verb subtype distinctions on the unaccusative hierarchy (auxiliary

selection in Italian) L2 learners show sensitivity to the fact that unaccusative verbs take undergoer subjects by overgeneralizing passive morphology (passivization errors in English) What would constitute proof?

The best evidence for implicit learning in L1A is reorganization We identify L1 reorganization by a temporary increase in systematic errors, the U-shaped learning curve Is there any evidence for a U-shaped learning curve in L2 acquisition? Is L2 acquisition like L1 acquisition? L2 acquisition of unaccusativity: an indisputable language universal implicit learning with no explicit input overgeneralization

low error rates eventual recovery

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