Second language acquisition: Theoretical and experimental issues in contemporary research

  title={Second language acquisition: Theoretical and experimental issues in contemporary research},
  author={S. D. Epstein and Suzanne Flynn and Gita Martohardjono},
  journal={Behavioral and Brain Sciences},
  pages={677 - 714}
Abstract To what extent, if any, does Universal Grammar (UG) constrain second language (L2) acquisition? This is not only an empirical question, but one which is currently investigable. In this context, L2 acquisition is emerging as an important new domain of psycholinguistic research. Three logical possibilities have been articulated regarding the role of UG in L2 acquisition: The first is the “no access” hypothesis that claims that no aspect of UG is available to the L2 learner. The second is… 
Investigating full transfer : preliminary data from the adult L2 acquisition of Afrikaans
In generative linguistics, many researchers agree that (something like) Universal Grammar (UG) must play some role in second language (L2) acquisition, since the logical problem of first language
The Interpretability Hypothesis: evidence from wh-interrogatives in second language acquisition
The second language acquisition (SLA) literature reports numerous studies of proficient second language (L2) speakers who diverge significantly from native speakers despite the evidence offered by
Second Language Acquisition and Universal Grammar: Principles of Universal Grammar in L2 acquisition
It is sufficient to show that L2 learners acquire complex and subtle properties of language that could not have been induced from the L2 input to demonstrate a poverty-of-the-stimulus situation in L2 acquisition.
The theoretical significance of Universal Grammar in second language acquisition
The evidence that native language acquisition is possible only because children are born with an innately-determined language faculty - Universal Grammar - is considerable. The evidence that the same
Acquisition of Wh-in-situ: The Case of L2 Japanese
According to the theory of UG (Universal Grammar), a set of abstract universal principles characterizes the grammars of all possible natural languages. The principles of UG are fully available when
Structural Minimality, CP and the initial state in second language acquisition
This article considers the current debate on the initial state of second language acquisition (L2) and presents critical empirical evidence from Hindi learners of English as an L2 that supports the
The acquisition of non-null subjects in English: a minimalist account
The Minimalist Program provides a new framework for explaining data concerning the L2 acquisition of non-null subjects in English, especially the developmental changes of interlanguage grammar and L1 influences on it.
A Test Case for L 1 versus UG as the L 2 Initial State : The Acquisition of the Scope Properties of Disjunction by Japanese Learners of English
The extent to which knowledge provided by the language faculty, or UG, is available to second language (L2) learners has been the subject of extensive debate. Recent empirical work has shown that
Another Take on the L2 Initial State: Evidence From Comprehension in L2 German
The nature of the initial state in second-language (L2) acquisition is a much debated but still unresolved issue, due in part to the empirical problem of obtaining production data from L2 learners at
Another Take on the L2 Initial State: Evidence From Comprehension in L2 German
The nature of the initial state in second-language (L2) acquisition is a much debated but still unresolved issue, due in part to the empirical problem of obtaining production data from L2 learners at


Is There a "Logical Problem" of Second Language Acquisition?
This paper will suggest that this orientation is also useful when one comes to consider second language acquisition, and raises the question of whether the way that DO has operated in the Ll has any effects in L2 acquisition.
Resetting Universal Grammar parameters: evidence from Second Language Acquisition of Subjacency and the Empty Category Principle
This article built on previous work by Martohardjono (1991) and conducted a study which examined the acquisition of two principles of UG, Subjacency and the Empty Category Principle, by native speakers of Hebrew learning English as a second language, leading to the conclusion that UG is indeed available in SLA.
The UG paradox in L2 acquisition
There is a considerable amount of recent evidence that stable principles of Universal Grammar (UG) are available to adult second language (L2) learners in structuring their intuitions about the
What is the 'L2 initial state'?
state’ refers to the starting point of non-native grammatical knowledge. This lacuna is particularly surprising within the framework of generativist L2 acquisition research. Even among those who
Long and Short Verb Movement in Second Language Acquisition
  • Lydia White
  • Linguistics
    Canadian Journal of Linguistics/Revue canadienne de linguistique
  • 1992
Current linguistic theory offers a highly detailed account of what linguistic competence consists of, as well as an indication of how that competence is acquired by L1 learners, via an innate
Children are in control
Agreement and null subjects in German L2 development: new evidence from reaction-time experiments
In L1 acquisition research, developmental correlations between superfi cially unrelated linguistic phenomena are analysed in terms of clustering effects, resulting from the setting of a particular
Universal Grammar and second language acquisition
This book explores the relationship between linguistic universals and second language acquisition with the aim of determining the principles and parameters of UG remain available in language acquisition that is non-primary.
The epistemological status of second language acquisition
In this paper I argue for the necessity of recognizing the epistemological basis of language (and hence of linguistic theory) for research in and theories of second language acquisition. In
Language acquisition in the absence of experience
  • S. Crain
  • Linguistics
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences
  • 1991
Abstract A fundamental goal of linguistic theory is to explain how natural languages are acquired. This paper describes some recent findings on how learners acquire syntactic knowledge for which