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Title: Multilingual Acquisition of English: Development of Grammar Through Study of Null Anaphora
Authors: Berkes, Eva 
Flynn, Suzanne 
Keywords: multilingualism;language development;anaphora;pro-drop parameter
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Abstract: 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).
ISBN: 978-1443871822
Rights: info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess
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