|General programme, activity sheet|
||Friday 19 September, 2014 17:30 to 18:00
Differential object marking in adult L2: The view from Romanian and Persian
Authors: Cristina Ciovârnache, Larisa Avram, Anca Sevcenco
Differential object marking (DOM) has received considerable attention in adult L2 learning research (Montrul, Bowles 2008, Guijarro-Fuentes, Marinis 2007, 2009); few studies, however, investigated contexts in which both L1 and L2 mark objects but under different semantic conditions.
We investigate the learning of DOM in two such contexts: L1 Romanian – L2 Persian; L1 Persian – L2 Romanian. The Persian râ marks [+specific] objects. The Romanian pe marks [+specific] [+animate] objects. The relationship between the two systems is a subset-superset one, with Persian being the superset (Table 1).
We address two questions: (i) are semantic universals accessible to adult learners?; (ii) is the learning process affected by the subset-superset relationship between the L1/L2 DOM systems?
Our data come from two acceptability judgment tasks. Task 1 tested the use of pe in L2 Romanian. 14 Iranian intermediate learners and 14 native controls participated in the study. Task 2 targeted the use of râ in L2 Persian. 14 Romanian intermediate learners and 6 native controls participated in this task.
In task 1 the participants did not accept pe with inanimate DPs (Fig. 2); their acceptance rate for partitives and specific indefinites was similar to the control group. In task 2 there was no difference between the responses to [–animate] and [+animate] DPs (Fig. 1). The acceptance rate for marked definite DPs, proper names and pronouns is higher than for partitives and specific indefinites in both tasks (Fig. 3-4). The acceptance rates in the L2 learner groups are lower than in the control groups.
Our data indicate that L2 learners have access to semantic universals. The subset-superset relationship does not affect the learning route, irrespective of the subset/superset status of L2. There is no L1 transfer effect of semantic features with intermediate learners. The learners’ lower acceptance rates can be attributed to proficiency level. (300 words)
Paper session E
Place: Main Room