Acquisition of Functional Categories in English as a Second Language

Document Type : Research Paper

Authors

1 Assistant professor, Department of English Language, University of Birjand

2 M.A student, Department of English Language, University of Birjand

Abstract

Second Language Acquisition (SLA) always happens when the learners live and have contact with the native speakers of a second language. Although this study investigates learning English by ten native children of Farsi, the authors try to simulate the second language acquisition environment. The research deals with the initial state and further development in the child second language learning of syntax regarding the presence or absence of functional categories, as well as the role and the degree of L1 influence in this regard. Some studies in the field of child L1 acquisition are discussed to determine similarities or differences between child L1 and child L2 acquisition. The competing claims of the two most prominent hypotheses about early L2 grammars, i.e. Vainikka & Young-Scholten’s (1996) Minimal Trees/Structure Building hypothesis and Schwartz & Sprouse’s (1996) Full Transfer/Full Access hypothesis, are tested. The conclusion is reached that functional categories are absent at the initial state and that they emerge without the learners’ reliance on their L1, consistent with Minimal Trees/Structure Building hypothesis.
 

Keywords


Volume 3, Issue 2 - Serial Number 2
January 2013
Pages 95-109
  • Receive Date: 15 May 2011
  • Revise Date: 03 July 2012
  • Accept Date: 26 September 2012
  • First Publish Date: 19 February 2013