|General programme, activity sheet|
||Friday 19 September, 2014 09:00 to 09:30
The overgeneration of Spanish articles: A view from Japanese
Authors: Yurie OKAMI and Aya FURUKAWA
How do students acquire the article system of their target language when it doesn’t exist in their mother tongue? In this presentation, we will examine the errors made by Japanese students who have studied Spanish for two years as their university major.
It is well known that Japanese is one of the languages that have no articles. Hence Japanese students have struggled with trying to acquire them (Shirahata (1988), Ito (2012), Nishikawa (2006), among others). Moreover, the acquisition of the article system does not proceed uniformly. As noted by Nishikawa (2006), for Japanese students, the most difficult usage of articles is the generic interpretation with zero articles.
To express genericity of the NP, Spanish has several options. In the subject position, the article must be present in (1a-c) (except in some idiomatic expressions (1d)). In the object position bare singular and plural objects can appear (2a-c). The most frequent errors of Japanese students are putting the indefinite article in (2a), and the definite article in (2b-c).
Following Ishikawa (2007), we assume the structure of Spanish nominals as in (3). Here, Spanish D selects a functional projection (AgrP), and checks [±R(erefential)]. AgrP hosts the feature [±P(artitive)], and Affix Phrase hosts [Number] and [Gender] features, respectively. On the other hand, we assume Japanese nominal structure as in (4). If the Romance nouns are subject to head-movement (N-movement) within DP (Longobardi 1994, Cinque 1994, among others), bare singular/plural nouns are subject to head-movement within DP to check their features without realizing an overt D. The data in (2) shows that although Japanese students acquire the DP structure and feature-checking with overt D at early stage, the acquisition of N-movement takes time. Therefore Japanese students demonstrate an overgeneration of the articles with generic interpretation.
Paper session D1
Place: Main Room