Research Outputs

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 13
  • Publication
      68Scopus© Citations 10
  • Publication
    Syntactic development evidenced via DLC
    (ISB11-International Symposium on Bilingualism, Limerick, Ireland, 2017-06-14) ;
    Flynn, Suzanne 
    Syntactic knowledge, understood as an implicit and unconscious computational knowledge, is essential to define what multilingual development consists of. In order to explore how learners integrate innate linguistic and language-specific knowledge for a new target language in acquisition, we will employ a Dominant Language Constellation (DLC) approach (Aronin 2016) and examine production data at two levels of English proficiency of groups of multiple language learners whose DLC differs only minimally: DLC of Hungarian/German/English and DLC of Hungarian/Spanish/English. The fact that multilingual language learners necessarily own and retain more than one grammar leads us to assume that such individuals represent the languages of their Dominant Constellation in fundamentally similar ways. One of the logical consequences of such an approach is the need to reinterpret unidirectional language influence, i.e. ‘transfer from a source to a target language’, to allow for a more creative progress learners go through within their language constellation. We will compare and contrast production data related to the acquisition of different empty categories: wh-movement and relative clauses. Participants in all experimental groups consist of Hungarian learners of L3 English whose L2 is either German or Spanish. Our results of the DLC analysis do not support the claim that development is mainly due to non-linguistic mechanisms, such as distance and processing ease, but rather that development has to be reinterpreted as a cumulative process in the sense of Flynn et al. (2004). Due to the minimal difference in learners’ background languages, we could detect nuanced differences in acquisition patterns. More precisely, where learners could not rely on previously acquired syntactic knowledge, they seemed to map features of simple structures to more complex ones to construct the new target grammar, giving further support to the claim that development is modular (Flynn et al. 2005). On the other hand, where learners’ DLC provided knowledge of a fully-fledged English-like CP structure, learners seemed to be induced to skip a more ‘primitive’ stage to build up complex structures in the target language. We conclude then that learners’ syntactic fluency (Berkes and Flynn 2016) can be enhanced in principled and selective ways according to the prior linguistic experience of the learner.
      442
  • Publication
    L3 development after the initial state
    (2023)
    Brown-Bousfield, Megan M.
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    Flynn, Suzanne 
      6
  • Publication
    Grammatical mapping in L3 acquisition
    (2023) ;
    Flynn, Suzanne 
    In this chapter, we focus on the question of how development may take place in multilingual and the role of prior knowledge in this process. The theoretical called (GM) (Lust, 2012 for L1 acquisition) supposes an active, albeit unconscious, creative involvement of the learner in the construction of the constrained and guided by (UG). We propose that the GM paradigm provides a valid and principled account of the process of multilingual acquisition as well. By means of presenting concrete examples from our previous experimental research, we will illustrate how the three essential predictions deriving from this paradigm also bear out in the multilingual scenario. Similar to L1 acquisition, UG’s and invariant principle(s) are shown to be at work in . Moreover, based on of multilingual learners’ in elicited productions, we present tangible indications that multilingual learners draw upon previously known language grammars while engaged in linguistic computation – analysis, dissociation and integration – of target language-specific components. Our contribution to the is the specification of the manner in which multilingual learners draw upon previous knowledge in the construction of new target grammar, thus extricating explicit from implicit linguistic knowledge. We expect that the application of this paradigm onto multilingual experimental data may shed light on the degree to which domain-specific innate principles guide and constrain language acquisition in general.
      5Scopus© Citations 4
  • Publication
    Minimalist Approach to the Functional Categories in Sentence Scope: Derivation by Phase
    (Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 2004)
    La tesis se ubica entre los estudios teóricos del campo lingüístico generativo siguiendo las pautas proporcionadas por sucesivos trabajos de Chomsky cuya misión ha sido delinear un programa de perspectiva minimalista en la concepción de la Facultad del Lenguaje. Procuramos mostrar, en primer lugar, que los procesos tratados se someten plenamente al Principio de Economía, por lo que se da un paso firme en la reducción de la complejidad computacional. En segundo lugar, dados los mecanismos de la teoría, fundamentalmente los que se aplican en la Derivación por Fase (Chomsky, 1999), se quiere consolidar la definición de estos mecanismos del Sistema Computacional construyendo un aparato único y simple. Y, en tercer lugar, tratamos de hacer una aportación, aunque sólo sea parcial, en relación con un problema candente, como es el diseño de los instrumentos utilizados en la construcción de oraciones: la necesidad de una descripción completa de la arquitectura interna de rasgos de los elementos que intervienen en una derivación, principalmente de aquellos que son los responsables de la buena formación de las oraciones: los elementos funcionales. El centro de nuestro interés es definir la forma concreta de satisfacer las necesidades de cotejo, con especial interés en los llamados centrales.Llegamos a la conclusión de que, en ciertos casos, un elemento funcional delegado (proxy) puede prestarse también para la función de alojar operadores, dependiendo de cada lengua. Para la lexicalización de un sintagma delegado es necesario que se cumplan dos condiciones simultáneas. Por un lado, la Condición Necesaria, que exige la presencia de un operador activo en el núcleo y, por otro, la Condición Satisfactoria, que requiere el movimiento explícito del verbo para su adjunción al núcleo de la proyección delegada.
      476  252
  • Publication
    Enhanced L3…Ln Acquisition and its Implications for Language Teaching
    (Springer, 2012) ;
    Flynn, Suzanne 
    This paper seeks to provide further evidence in support of the Cumulative Enhancement Model for Language Acquisition by analyzing the acquisition of an L3 in which the CP properties match in the L1 and the L3 but not the L2. Results of an elicited imitation task comparing the production of relative clauses by a group of Hungarians learning L2 English and another group (HungarianL1/GermanL2) learning L3 English at three levels of proficiency indicate that a more accurate description of the development of syntactic knowledge in L3 acquisition cannot be clearly traced back to either L1 or to the influence of the last learned language. Learners were tested on three types of restrictive relative clauses: headed (specified and unspecified) and free relatives, each type including four variants according to function of head NP and gap. Results seem to support an exponential development in multiple language acquisition, i.e. syntactic knowledge acquired in the course of learning more languages does not simply add up but rather has a multiplying effect on further language learning. Syntactic knowledge accumulated through language learning experience in the course of L1…Ln rearranges the UG guided language development in a new and economical way. Such a result has important consequences for teaching, primarily because it informs us about what does not have to be taught. Giving enough input on the series of such syntactic primitives by the language teacher may be enough to facilitate the construction of the new grammar for the learner, making learning thus more effective.
      494  1265Scopus© Citations 13
  • Publication
    Further evidence in support of the Cumulative-Enhancement Model: CP structure development
    (John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2012) ;
    Flynn, Suzanne 
    The Cumulative Enhancement Model proposed by Flynn et al. (2004) seeks to provide an explanatory model for multiple language acquisition. Results reported in this paper present further evidence in support of this model. Results of an elicited imitation task comparing the production of relative clauses by learners of German L1 and Hungarian L1/German L2 acquiring L2 and L3 English respectively at three levels of proficiency indicate, on the one hand, an increased facilitation in subsequent acquisition with each new language learned and, on the other hand, development of syntactic knowledge in L3 acquisition that cannot be explained in terms of an astructural transfer from the last language learned.
      252  764
  • Publication
    Multilingualism: New perspectives on syntactic development
    (Blackwell Publishing Ltd., 2013) ;
    Flynn, Suzanne 
    The chapter presents results of a series of studies which provide strong support against simplified accounts of language transfer from either first language (L1) or any previous language. These studies help us better understand language acquisition, and most particularly the nature of the hypotheses language learners impose when learning a new target language. Language development studies focusing on the acquisition of relative clauses in English presented in this chapter seek to elucidate language development by contemplating the development of language-specific properties of the complementizer phrase (CP). The chapter introduces three influential current models of multilingual acquisition: the second-language (L2) status factor; the typological primacy model; and the cumulative enhancement model (CEM) for language acquisition. L1 acquisition studies have provided important insights into how the mind and language work. The chapter also explores L3 acquisition, the acquisition process of any multilingual learner whether of a third language or a fourth language.
      211  621Scopus© Citations 16
  • Publication
      52Scopus© Citations 2
  • Publication
    Multilingual Acquisition of English: Development of Grammar Through Study of Null Anaphora
    (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2015) ;
    Flynn, Suzanne 
    Development of the “Minimalist Program” (MP) (Chomsky 1995) from a “Government and Binding” framework (GB) (Chomsky 1981, 1986) gave rise to numerous debates concerning the validity of long established parameters and parametric variation such as the “pro-drop parameter” in linguistic theory, which is supposed to be on in null-subject languages (NSL) and off in non-null-subject languages (non-NSL). Critically, these debates have consequences for both theories of language and language acquisition. Specifically, studies of language development, be it L1 or Ln, need to reinterpret their results in light of the newly emerging theoretical constructs in order to give an explanatory account of what was traditionally understood as parameter setting. The main objectives of the present paper are twofold. Firstly, it proposes to account for how multilingual learners acquire binding relations between referentially connected elements in subject-controlled adverbial subordination using a minimalist account of the featural setup of pronominal anaphora. Secondly, the paper attempts to support the viability of a model of acquisition as a computational rather than a maturational process (see Flynn and Lust 2002 for an overview) where “parameter setting” in development is to be understood as a gradual process allowing time for the learner to work out the linguistic implications deriving from the target setting (also in Flynn and O'Neil 1988). This paper provides support for reinterpreting parameter setting as the process in which learners dissociate and integrate linguistic components consistent with the properties of a specific target grammar (Flynn et al. 2005).
      202  644