Other: Comparing Patterns of Use of Relative Clauses in L2 and L3 Acquisition
It has been argued that investigating third language (L3) acquisition “provides essential new insights about the language learning process that neither the study of first language (L1) nor second language (L2) acquisition alone can provide” (Flynn, Foley, and Vinnitskaya 2004:3). The present study investigates whether the learner’s first language (L1) maintains its privileged role in subsequent language acquisition, or whether other languages known by the learner have a stronger bearing on L3 acquisition. The study, in particular, focuses on the patterns of use of English relative clauses (RCs) by two groups of English learners: adult Persian monolinguals, and adult bilinguals whose L1 is Azerbaijani (also known as Azeri) and whose L2 is Persian. The present study provides a detailed description of the syntactic structure of RCs in the following three languages: Azerbaijani, English, and Persian, and it explores the extent to which L1 and/or L2 transfer affect(s) the use and formation of RCs in L3. Resumptive pronouns, which are not allowed in Standard English, are expected to be transferred from Persian as L1 and L2 to English.