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Interpreting definiteness in a second language without articles: the case of L2 Russian

Interpreting definiteness in a second language without articles: the case of L2 Russian
Interpreting definiteness in a second language without articles: the case of L2 Russian
This article investigates the second language (L2) acquisition of two expressions of the semantic feature [definite] in Russian, a language without articles, by English and Korean native speakers. Within the Feature Reassembly approach (Lardiere, 2009), Slabakova (2009) has argued that reassembling features that are represented overtly in the first language (L1) and mapping them onto those that are encoded indirectly, or covertly, in the L2 will present a greater difficulty than reassembling features in the opposite learning direction. An idealized scale of predictions of difficulty is proposed based on the overt or covert character of the feature encoding and the ease/difficulty of noticing the feature expression. A total of 158 participants (56 native Russian, 49 English learners and 53 Korean learners of Russian) evaluated the acceptability of test sentences in context. Findings demonstrate that acquiring the expression of a feature that is encoded contextually in the L2 is challenging for learners, while an overt expression of a feature presents less difficulty. On the basis of the learners’ developmental patterns observed in the study, we argue that overt and covert expression of semantic features, feature reassembly, and indirect encoding appear to be significant factors in L2 grammatical feature acquisition.
0267-6583
159-190
Cho, Jacee
7562b2ca-ecb1-4133-a467-67945196cc6c
Slabakova, Roumyana
1bda11ce-ce3d-4146-8ae3-4a486b6f5bde
Cho, Jacee
7562b2ca-ecb1-4133-a467-67945196cc6c
Slabakova, Roumyana
1bda11ce-ce3d-4146-8ae3-4a486b6f5bde

Cho, Jacee and Slabakova, Roumyana (2014) Interpreting definiteness in a second language without articles: the case of L2 Russian. Second Language Research, 30 (2), 159-190. (doi:10.1177/0267658313509647).

Record type: Article

Abstract

This article investigates the second language (L2) acquisition of two expressions of the semantic feature [definite] in Russian, a language without articles, by English and Korean native speakers. Within the Feature Reassembly approach (Lardiere, 2009), Slabakova (2009) has argued that reassembling features that are represented overtly in the first language (L1) and mapping them onto those that are encoded indirectly, or covertly, in the L2 will present a greater difficulty than reassembling features in the opposite learning direction. An idealized scale of predictions of difficulty is proposed based on the overt or covert character of the feature encoding and the ease/difficulty of noticing the feature expression. A total of 158 participants (56 native Russian, 49 English learners and 53 Korean learners of Russian) evaluated the acceptability of test sentences in context. Findings demonstrate that acquiring the expression of a feature that is encoded contextually in the L2 is challenging for learners, while an overt expression of a feature presents less difficulty. On the basis of the learners’ developmental patterns observed in the study, we argue that overt and covert expression of semantic features, feature reassembly, and indirect encoding appear to be significant factors in L2 grammatical feature acquisition.

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e-pub ahead of print date: 30 January 2014
Organisations: Modern Languages and Linguistics

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 358999
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/358999
ISSN: 0267-6583
PURE UUID: adb4efc4-894e-4dff-93a7-020858befbe0
ORCID for Roumyana Slabakova: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-5839-460X

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Date deposited: 17 Oct 2013 15:02
Last modified: 18 Feb 2021 17:22

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