By the end of this course the students
• will be familiar with generativist theories of second language acquisition (L2A)
• will be familiar with research methods of data collection and analysis
• will be able to compare and evaluate L2 data
• will be able to critically assess effects of instruction on L2 acquisition
Course Content (Syllabus)
The aim of this course is to introduce students to language acquisition research within the Principles and Parameters perspective (Chomsky, 1986) and to familiarise them with some studies on second language acquisition within this framework. It begins with an outline of the similarities and differences between first and second language acquisition, continues with the methodology for research used in each of the two areas, introduces the basic theories in the field, and, finally, discusses syntactic phenomena which have been the centre of recent research in second language acquisition: subjects (position, nature, and syntactic behaviour in various structures), adverbs and negation (their position in relation to the finite or non-finite verb), questions and determiners. Difficulties in the acquisition of such structures are analysed in terms of the interference of the native to the second language and, alternatively, the semantic and syntactic properties of the syntactic phenomena which prove difficult even to advanced second language learners.
Second language acquisition, Universal Grammar, principles and parameters, inflectional morphology, negation, verb movement, determiner phrase, pro-drop parameter
Additional bibliography for study
Hawkins, R. 2001. Second Language syntax: a generative introduction. Malden, MA: Blackwell. (Chapters: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6).
Gass, S. & Selinker, L. 2008. Second language acquisition. An introductory course. Mahwah,NJ: Lawrence Εrlbaum. (Chapter 3: Second and foreign language
Towell, R. & Hawkins, R. 1994. Approaches to second language acquisition. Clevedon/
Philadelphia/Adelaide: Multilingual Matters. (Chapters 59)
White, L. 2003: Second language acquisition and Universal Grammar. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press. (Chapters 1 & 2: Theoretical issues in SLA research and Chapter 3: Theories
about the initial state)