Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Degree

Spring 2016

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Second Language Acquisition

First Advisor

Paula Kempchinsky

Second Advisor

Alice Davison

Abstract

This dissertation contributes to an ongoing debate on the types of linguistic features which can be acquired in a second language by looking at the multiple learning challenges related to the ergative case system (the appearance of –ne with the subject) in Hindi-Urdu by classroom learners. Some hypotheses in second language research hold that interpretable features (features which contribute semantic information) can be acquired in a second language, whereas uninterpretable features (features which express grammatical information) cannot be easily acquired, if ever. Additionally, hypotheses in second language processing hold that the second language learners are able to process semantic information but not grammatical information. This dissertation investigates at the acquisition process of second language learners of Hindi-Urdu acquiring the uninterpretable ergative case. In Hindi-Urdu, the subject of a sentence appears with the ergative case marker –ne, when the verb is transitive and in the perfective aspect. In my dissertation, I test the validity of the aforementioned hypotheses and investigate the acquisition and acquisitional process of ergative case in L2 Hindi-Urdu by L1 English speakers by analyzing data collected by using an acceptability/grammaticality judgement task, a self-paced reading task and a production task from Hindi-Urdu learners and native speakers.

Public Abstract

This dissertation contributes to an ongoing debate on the types of linguistic features which can be acquired in a second language by looking at the multiple learning challenges related to the ergative case system (the appearance of –ne with the subject) in Hindi-Urdu by classroom learners. Some hypotheses in second language research hold that interpretable features (features that contribute semantic information) can be acquired in a second language, whereas uninterpretable features (features that express grammatical information) cannot be easily acquired, if ever. Additionally, hypotheses in second language processing hold that second language learners are able to process semantic information but not grammatical information. This dissertation investigates the acquisition process of second language learners of Hindi-Urdu acquiring the uninterpretable ergative case. In Hindi-Urdu, the subject of a sentence appears with the ergative case marker –ne when the verb is transitive and in the perfective aspect. In my dissertation, I test the validity of the aforementioned hypotheses and investigate the acquisition and acquisitional process of ergative case in L2 Hindi-Urdu by L1 English speakers by analyzing data collected by using an acceptability/grammaticality judgment task, a self-paced reading task, and a production task from Hindi-Urdu learners and native speakers.

Keywords

publicabstract, Ergative case, L1 English, L2 Hindi-Urdu, L2 Processing, Perfective, Second Language Acquisition

Pages

xvii, 276 pages

Bibliography

Includes bibliographical references (pages 229-241).

Copyright

Copyright 2016 Rajiv Ranjan

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