L2 Acquisition of English by Persian L1 Speakers. Comparing Morphology, Syntax and Semantics The Bottleneck Hypothesis in L2 acquisition
In this thesis, I test the Bottleneck Hypothesis (Slabakova, 2008, 2013, 2016) in L2 acquisition of English by Persian L1 speakers. The Bottleneck Hypothesis (BH) examines what is difficult and what is easy to acquire in a second language. According to this hypothesis, functional morphology is the most challenging part for second language learners to acquire, while narrow syntax and semantics are easier to acquire. In the current study, I test four linguistic conditions within three linguistic modules (morphology, syntax and semantics): Subject-verb agreement, Past tense –ed, Adjective-Noun (Adj-N) word order and Pronominal gender. Subject-verb agreement and Past tense –ed represent knowledge of functional morphology, Adj-N word order and Pronominal gender represent knowledge of syntax and semantics respectively. The study consisted of a timed acceptability judgement task with 50 test items, a background questionnaire, and a proficiency test with 29 multiple choice test items, which were administered to Persian learners in two age groups of 10 (n=129) and 12 (n=123). The results of the statistical analysis indicate that the participants struggle more with identifying Pronominal gender than they do with Subject-verb agreement, Past tense –ed and Adj-N word order. Moreover, the results show that Pronominal gender is a more persistent problem and is not acquired well with either of the groups. Furthermore, the findings demonstrate that Past tense –ed is not only easier to acquire than Subject-verb agreement, but also it is easier than Pronominal gender and Adj-N word order. I conclude that the findings do not support the BH.
PublisherUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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