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Semantic theory and second language acquisition

Semantic theory and second language acquisition
Semantic theory and second language acquisition
The article identifies four different types of meaning situated in different modules of language. Such a modular view of language architecture suggests that there may be differential difficulties of acquisition for the different modules. It is argued that second language (L2) acquisition of meaning involves acquiring interpretive mismatches at the first and second language (L1-L2) syntax-semantics interfaces. In acquiring meaning, learners face two types of learning situations. One situation where the sentence syntax presents less difficulty but different pieces of functional morphology subsume different primitives of meaning is dubbed simple syntax–complex semantics. Another type of learning situation is exemplified in less frequent, dispreferred, or syntactically complex sentences where the sentential semantics offers no mismatch; these are labeled complex syntax–simple semantics. Studies representative of these learning situations are reviewed. The issues of importance of explicit instruction with respect to interpretive properties and the effect of the native language are addressed. Studies looking at acquisition of language-specific discourse properties and universal pragmatics are also reviewed. These representative studies and numerous other studies on the L2 acquisition of meaning point to no visible barrier to ultimate success in the acquisition of semantics and pragmatics.
0267-1905
231-247
Slabakova, Roumyana
1bda11ce-ce3d-4146-8ae3-4a486b6f5bde
Slabakova, Roumyana
1bda11ce-ce3d-4146-8ae3-4a486b6f5bde

Slabakova, Roumyana (2010) Semantic theory and second language acquisition. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 30, 231-247. (doi:10.1017/S0267190510000139).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The article identifies four different types of meaning situated in different modules of language. Such a modular view of language architecture suggests that there may be differential difficulties of acquisition for the different modules. It is argued that second language (L2) acquisition of meaning involves acquiring interpretive mismatches at the first and second language (L1-L2) syntax-semantics interfaces. In acquiring meaning, learners face two types of learning situations. One situation where the sentence syntax presents less difficulty but different pieces of functional morphology subsume different primitives of meaning is dubbed simple syntax–complex semantics. Another type of learning situation is exemplified in less frequent, dispreferred, or syntactically complex sentences where the sentential semantics offers no mismatch; these are labeled complex syntax–simple semantics. Studies representative of these learning situations are reviewed. The issues of importance of explicit instruction with respect to interpretive properties and the effect of the native language are addressed. Studies looking at acquisition of language-specific discourse properties and universal pragmatics are also reviewed. These representative studies and numerous other studies on the L2 acquisition of meaning point to no visible barrier to ultimate success in the acquisition of semantics and pragmatics.

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Published date: March 2010
Organisations: Modern Languages

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Local EPrints ID: 353341
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/353341
ISSN: 0267-1905
PURE UUID: e09da297-6f35-4a19-b5cc-b8d1093b940e
ORCID for Roumyana Slabakova: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-5839-460X

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Date deposited: 05 Jun 2013 11:52
Last modified: 06 Jun 2018 12:24

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