L2 Acquisition of Complement Clauses by Persian Learners of English

Masoud Khalili Sabet, Maryam Hadaeghi Azad, Amir Mahdavi Zafarghandi

Abstract


This research concentrates on the acquisition of complement clauses within Universal Grammar framework which theoretically plays the strongest linguistic role in second language acquisition research in recent years. This study aims to investigate how Persian learners of English at three levels of proficiency acquire complement clauses.  In fact, this study reports the results of the learners’ responses to GJT and specifically investigates the six linguistic variables associated with complement Clauses: using complement in finite/ non-finite clauses, small-clauses, exceptional-clauses, that-trace effect in clauses and subcategorization of two verbs (i. e. want and let).  The responses were given by 50 Persian learners of English divided into three proficiency levels: Elementary, Intermediate and Advanced. The statistical analyses of the data revealed that, by increasing the participants’ level of proficiency their judgment of grammatical and ungrammatical items was improved whereas the differences between groups were also significant. The results can indicate that the development of their complement acquisition is generally systematic.  In addition, by carrying out syntactic analyses of the sentences that the participants produced, we conclude that, as UG predicted, Persian learners do not use any wild grammar at any level of their L2 acquisition.  The above findings are generally in harmony with the view that L2 learners somehow attain the unconscious knowledge that goes beyond what they receive as L2 input.  Finally, our findings may have implications for language teaching by deepening our understanding of the nature of L2 acquisition.

 


Keywords


Second Language Acquisition, Complements, Clauses, Developmental stages, Systematicity, Universal Grammar, Fundamental Different Hypothesis (FDH)

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.4n.1p.26

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