Document Type : Research Paper


1 PhD. Candidate in General linguistics, Allameh Tabatabaei University

2 Associate Professor in General Linguistics, Allameh Tabatabaei University


After studying 50 languages, Keenan and Comrie (1977) introduced the Noun Phrase Accessibility Hierarchy Theory. This theory claims that in order to form relative clauses, languages follow a universal hierarchy. Based on this, language learning researchers introduced a hypothesis using which the learning difficulty of the relative clause in the second language can be predicted. This article attempts to determine the learning order of relative clauses in Persian as a second/foreign language through a study of the interlanguage of non-Iranian Persian learners. To this end, after examining 493 written texts from the non-Iranian Persian learners' corpus of Sa'di Foundation, sentences with relative clauses were labeled. Then, the relative clauses were sorted into 6 levels of basic, pre-intermediate, intermediate, upper-intermediate, advanced, and upper-advanced, based on the students' levels, and all samples were classified based on the relative clause heads. An analysis of the data collected from the 361 relative clauses demonstrated that the learning of the Subject and Object relative clauses exactly follows Keenan and Comrie's Accessibility Hierarchy, while other relative clauses indicate evidence of non-compliance with this hierarchy.

افراشی، آزیتا (1389). ساخت زبان فارسی، تهران، سازمان مطالعه و تدوین کتب علوم انسانی دانشگاه‌ها (سمت).
بهرامی، کاوه (1396). بررسی سلسله‌مراتب دسترسی نقش‌های نحوی در زبان­های آلمانی و فارسی. جستارهای زبانی، شمارۀ 3، پیاپی 38، 23-42.
بهرامی، کاوه (1392). بررسی رده‌شناختی راهبردهای ساخت بند موصولی در زبان‌های فارسی و آلمانی. پژوهش­های زبان‌شناختی در زبا­­ن­های خارجی، دورۀ 3، شمارۀ 1، 61-76.
گلفام، ارسلان (1379). شباهت‌ها و تفاوت‌های زبانی: جهانی‌ها و رده‌شناسی. مجله دانشکده ادبیات و علوم انسانی، دورۀ 155، شمارۀ پیاپی 979، 171-190.
لایت‌بون، پتسی و اسپادا، نینا، (1395). زبان‌ها چگونه آموخته می‌شوند؟ ترجمه رضامراد صحرائی، تهران: دانشگاه علامه طباطبائی.
Anderson, R. 2009. Grammar Teaching Unit – Relative Clauses. English 215C, Helt, CSUS.
Braidi, S. M. 1999. The acquisition of second-language syntax. Oxford University Press.
Carreiras, M. Duñabeitia, J. A. Vergara, M., De La Cruz-Pavía, I., & Laka, I. 2010. Subject relative clauses are not universally easier to process: Evidence from Basque. Cognition, 115(1), 79-92.
Croteau, K. C. 1995. Second language acquisition of relative clause structures by learners of Italian. Second language acquisition theory and pedagogy, 115-128.
Doughty, C. 1991. Second language instruction does make a difference. Studies in second language acquisition13(4), 431-469.
Eckman, F. R. 1977. Markedness and the contrastive analysis hypothesis. Language learning27(2), 315-330.
Eckman, F. R., Bell, L., & Nelson, D. 1988. On the Generalization of Relative Clause Instruction in the Acquisition of English as a Second Language, Applied Linguistics9(1), 1-20.
Ellis, R. 1985. Understanding second language acquisition. Oxford University Press.
Ellis, R. 1994. The study of second language acquisition, Oxford University Press.
Gass, S. 1979. Language transfer and universal grammatical relations, Language learning29(2), 327-344.
Gass, S. 1982. From theory to practice, In M. Hines & W. Rutherford, Selected Papers of the Fifteenth Annual Conference of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (129-139)On TESOL ’81.
Gass, S, and & L. Selinker. 2001. Second language acquisition: An introductory course, 2nd ed, Mahwah.
Gibson, E., Desmet, T., Grodner, D., Watson, D., & Ko, K. 2005. Reading relative clauses in English. Cognitive Linguistics, 16(2), 313-315.
Hamilton, R. L. 1995. The noun phrase accessibility hierarchy in SLA: Determining the basis for its developmental effects, In F.R. Eckman, D. Highland. P.W. Lee, J. Mileham and R.R.Weber,  Second language acquisition: Theory and pedagogy(101-114), University of Wisconsin- Milkwaukee.
Hyltenstam, K. 1984. The use of typological markedness conditions as predictors in second language acquisition: The case of pronominal copies in relative clauses, In R. Andersen, Second Languages: A Cross-Linguistic Perspective. Cross-Linguistic Series on Second Language Research (39-58). Newbury House Publishers, Inc., Rowley, MA 01969. 
Ishizuka, T. 2005. Processing relative clauses in Japanese, UCLA Working papers in Linguistics13, 135-157.
Keenan, E. L., & Comrie, B. 1977. Noun phrase accessibility and universal grammar, Linguistic inquiry8(1), 63-99.
Lehmann, C. 1982. DER RELATIVSATZ IM PERSISCHEN UND DEUTSCHEN Eine Studie in funktioneller kontrastiver Linguistik. IRAL-International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching20(1-4), 279-296.
Lightbown, P. M., & Spada, N. (2013). Oxford Handbooks for Language Teachers: How Languages Are Learned, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Mitchell, J. G. 2001. The acquisition of relative clause structures in French as a second language, Unpublished Ph. D. dissertation, Cornell University.
Ozeki, H., & Shirai, Y. 2007. Does the noun phrase accessibility hierarchy predict the difficulty order in the acquisition of Japanese relative clauses?, Studies in Second Language Acquisition29(2), 169-196.
Pavesi, M. 1986. Markedness, discoursal modes, and relative clause formation in a formal and an informal context, Studies in Second Language Acquisition8(1), 38-55.
Payne, T. 2006. Exploring language structure: a student's guide, Cambridge University Press.
Tarallo, F, and J. Myhill. 1983. Interference and natural language processing in second language acquisition, Language Learning33(1), 55-76.