The Interface Hypothesis (IH), proposed by Sorace and Filiaci (2006), states that narrow syntactic properties can be acquired, but the interfaces between syntax and other components cannot. The purpose of the present study is to conduct a three-year project to focus on the Head Parameter of different languages and systemically compare three interfaces of these language learners of L2 Chinese (i.e., novel noun-noun compounds, relative clauses, and anaphora resolution). According to Polinsky’s (2012) classification with respect to the Head Parameter of each language. Japanese is rigid head-final，German is non-rigid head-final, Indonesian is SVO (head-initial), and English is SVO (sundry). Therefore, in the present study, we recruited intermediate L2 Chinese groups (Japanese, German, Indonesian, and English) of National Taiwan Normal University and Chinese native controls to complete interpretation tasks (i.e., picture identification, truth value judgment, and question and answer tasks). The findings are as follows: As predicted, the four L2 groups, though their L1s are different, showed a similar tendency in interpreting novel NN compounds, relative clauses and anaphora resolution in Chinese, supporting linguistic universals. In addition, the influence of L1 was observed but not significant in every aspect, and it was subject to the linguistic issues we investigated. Context was found to influence our L2 participants’ interpretations of Chinese novel NN compounds, relative clauses, and anaphora resolution. The participants’ interpretations were improved with the aid of supporting context, especially in the case of novel NN compounds, which involve ambiguity. Finally, the Interface Hyothesis (Sorace and Filiaci 2006) was not supported by the present research in that our participants did not find internal interfaces (such as lexicon/syntax, semantics/syntax) easier to acquire than external interfaces. An external interface like anaphora resolution was even easier to acquire than an internal interface like relative clauses, and the two internal interfaces showed a different degree of difficulty.
|Effective start/end date||2017/08/01 → 2021/01/31|
- Interface Hypothesis
- novel noun-noun compounds
- relative clauses
- anaphora resolution
- foreign students
- L2 acquisition
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