LSLA 34: Overgeneralized Lexical Causatives in Adult English and Spanish L2 Acquisition

Artikel-Nr.: ISBN 9783862886210
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Overgeneralized Lexical Causatives in Adult English and Spanish L2 Acquisition

Mónica Estela Cabrera Camasca
Loyola Marymount University

The present study provides evidence in favor of the view that different L1 grammatical properties are transferred at different stages of acquisition. The study focuses on the acquisition of lexical causatives by L1-English/L2-Spanish and L1-Spanish/L2-English adult learners. English and Spanish lexical causatives have common constructional properties. The causative construction can be instantiated by verbs encoding change of state or location such as alternating unaccusatives, but not by unergatives.

In both languages, there is a subset of non-alternating unaccusatives that, although encode change, cannot appear in lexical causatives. They have been analyzed as lexically marked for the non-realization of their causative form. English and Spanish are different in that in the former, but not in the latter, manner-of-motion verbs can modify the causative construction in the context of a goal prepositional phrase. Learners tended to overgeneralize causatives especially at the beginner level, but mostly with predicates encoding change. At the advanced level, overgeneralization was restricted to verb classes allowed in lexical causatives in the L1. Learners make selective use of their L1 knowledge: constructional properties are transferred early on, and lexical specific properties are transferred at the post-intermediate level. Detailed individual analyses per subject and per verb are presented and discussed.

ISBN 9783862886210. LINCOM Studies in Language Acquisition 34. 98pp. 2015.

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