S-Space Language Education Institute (언어교육원) Language Research (어학연구) Language Research (어학연구) Volume 50 Number 1/3 (2014)
Acquisition of English Relative Clauses by Korean-speaking Learners of English
- Kang, Hyun-Sook
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 언어교육원
- 어학연구, Vol.50 No.3, pp. 739-766
- English relative clauses; headless relatives; elicited imitation; grammaticality judgment; Korean-speaking learners of English
- This study investigated whether Korean-speaking learners of L2 English differentiate between lexically-headed relatives and headless relatives and demonstrate any preference between the two structures. It further examines whether learners acquire headless relativization in the order predicted by Keenan and Comrie’s (1977) NPAH hypothesis and its application in language acquisition (Comrie, 2007). To this end, data were collected from forty-seven adult Korean speakers (28 female; 19 male) ages 19-36 (with an average age of 25.8), using an elicited imitation task and a grammaticality judgment task. Results from the learners with different proficiency levels showed fewer errors in headless relatives than they did in lexically-headed relatives, regardless of the gap position (subject vs. direct object) and the nature of the test instruments. The learners further showed a subject advantage in the realm of headless relatives, which supports the validity of Keenan and Comrie’s NPAH hypothesis in the acquisition of English headless relativization.