Interlanguage and Variation: Zero-marking of (o) in KY Corpus

by Kenjiro Matsuda


Recent surge in variationist analysis of interlanguage variation (Bailey & Prestoni1996)) blazed a way for a detailed analysis of variable constraints in L2 acquisition. An interesting possibility here is a correlation between the language varieties (L1 / L2 acquisition, L1 variation) and the distinction between language-universal constraints and language-particular constraints. This paper analyzes a zero-marking of (o) (Matsuda 1995, 2000) in Japanese speech by Korean L2 speakers using the KY Corpus. While zero-making of (o) in Tokyo Japanese involves both a language-universal constraint (morpho-syntactic form of the object NP) and language-particular constraints (adjacency between the object NP and the verb, and speech style), a quantitative analysis of the L2 speech found the language-universal constraint as the only significant factor. Moreover, its distribution showed a clear correlation with the speakers' proficiency level. In particular, the difference between lexical NPs and pronouns is already evident in mid-level L2 speakers, suggesting an important role played by the language-universal constraint both in the L2 acquisition and the L1 variation.

 
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