[+Topic]-driven EPP Satisfaction in the Acquisition of English by Korean Speakers

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Kim, So-Young

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서울대학교 언어교육원
어학연구, Vol.43 No.1, pp. 149-174
Extended Projection Principle (EPP)topicnull subjectsL2 acquisition
In the L2 English acquisition, those who originate from topic-prominent languages easily learn the EPP requirement (Yuan 1997). The present study tested the hypothesis that the EPP acquisition is facilitated by the L1 [+topic] feature. I administered grammaticality judgment tasks to 155 Korean EFL learners and 20 native English-speaking controls. Each test sentence included an NS (null subject) either with or without a topic, where an NS was either referential or expletive. The response choice was a 4-point rank: scale, and data were analyzed using non-pararnetric Kruskal-Wallis tests, followed by Scheffe post-hoc tests. Results showed that the learners had difficulties in detecting the ungrarnmaticality of an NS with a topic, while accurately rejecting an NS without a topic, regardless of whether NSs were referential or expletive. This suggests that the EPP was operative, but their EPP was overridden by the L1 [+topic]. I argue that the interlanguage phrase structure, F(unctional)P, is not V(erb)-related, suggesting that FP Spec is not necessarily ɵ-assigned. FP involves a rule of predication, by which FP Spec should be filled to saturate a predicate, realized as the EPP. FP carries combined properties of TopP in the L1 and IP in the L2. FP Head is occupied by the P(eripheral)-feature [+topic] as in the Ll. When the [+topic] feature is not operative, FP Spec is filled by an L2-like subject. FP Spec shows a continuum from purely Ll-based topics, such as a spatiotemporal PP, to L2 oriented subjects, such as the expletive it.
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Language Education Institute (언어교육원)Language Research (어학연구)Language Research (어학연구) Volume 43 Number 1/2 (2007)
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