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Lecture: Testing two hypotheses concerning the acquisition of English relative clauses in second language acquisition

Although the Noun Phrase Accessibility Hierarchy (NPAH) is known as the most plausible hypothesis in the relativization hierarchy, the accuracy of this hypothesis and other hypotheses concerning the acquisition of relative clauses (RCs) in first and second language acquisition is still under investigation due to the inconsistent results of the level of difficulty of RCs. Language researchers have been trying to test the hypotheses on the relativization hierarchy for different languages and different genres. The present study intends to investigate the predictions of two hypotheses of RC acquisition, namely the NPAH and the Perceptual Difficulty Hypothesis (PDH) in second language acquisition to see whether they can predict the acquisition hierarchy of RCs for Kurdish-speaking learners of English. Toward this aim, 45 Kurd native speakers participated in sentence translation and sentence combination tests. The results obtained from the two tests confirmed the predictions made by the NPAH. The results also revealed that the participants find RCs modifying objects of the matrix clauses much easier than those modifying subjects; this means, the study supports the claim of the PDH, which proposes that right-embedding RCs are easier to acquire than center-embedding ones due to short-term memory limitations.


Day: 2019-11-30
Start time: 14:30
Duration: 00:30
Room: Schellingstr. 3 R205
Track: Applied Linguistics
Language: en



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