Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

The acquisition of word order in L2 Norwegian: The case of subject and object shift

  • Merete Anderssen (a1), Kristine Bentzen (a1), Guro Busterud (a2), Anne Dahl (a2), Björn Lundquist (a1) and Marit Westergaard (a1)...
Abstract

This article reports on a syntactic acceptability judgement study of 59 adult L2/Ln learners of Norwegian and a group of native controls, studying subject and object shift. These constructions involve movement of (mainly) pronominal subjects or objects across negation/adverbs. Both subject shift and object shift display considerable micro-variation in terms of syntax and information structure, dependent on factors such as nominal type (pronoun vs. full DP), function (subject vs. object), and information status (given vs. new/focused). Previous studies have shown that Norwegian children have an early preference for the unshifted position in both constructions, but that they acquire subject shift relatively early (before age 3). Object shift, on the other hand, is typically not in place until after age 6–7. Importantly, children are conservative learners, and never shift elements that should not move in the adult language. The results of the current study show that L2/Ln learners do not make all the fine distinctions that children make, in that they have a clear preference for all subjects in shifted position and all objects in unshifted position, although some distinctions fall into place with increased proficiency. Importantly, unlike children, the L2/Ln learners are not conservative learners; rather, they over-accept syntactic movement in several cases. The equivalent to this in language production would be to apply syntactic movement where it is not attested in the target language, which would be the opposite behaviour to that observed in L1 children.

Copyright
References
Hide All
Anderssen, Merete & Bentzen, Kristine. 2012. Norwegian Object Shift as IP-internal topicalization. Nordlyd 39 (1), 123.
Anderssen, Merete, Bentzen, Kristine & Rodina, Yulia. 2012. Topicality and complexity in the acquisition of Norwegian Object Shift. Language Acquisition 19 (1), 3972.
Anderssen, Merete, Bentzen, Kristine, Rodina, Yulia & Westergaard, Marit. 2010. The acquisition of apparent optionality: The word order of subject- and object shift constructions in Norwegian. In Anderssen, Merete, Bentzen, Kristine & Westergaard, Marit (eds.), Variation in the Input: Studies on the Acquisition of Word Order (Studies in Theoretical Psycholinguistics 39), 240270. Dordrecht: Springer.
Anderssen, Merete & Westergaard, Marit. 2010. Frequency and economy in the acquisition of variable word order. Lingua 120 (11), 25692588.
Andréasson, Maia. 2008. Not all objects are born alike: Accessibility as a key to pronominal object shift in Swedish and Danish. In Butt, Miriam & Holloway King, Tracy (eds.), Proceedings of LFG08, 2645. Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications.
Andréasson, Maia. 2010. Object shift or object placement in general. In Butt, Miriam & King, Tracy Halloway (eds), Proceedings of the LFG10 Conference, 2642. Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications.
Bates, Douglas, Maechler, Martin, Bolker, Ben & Walker, Steve. 2015. Fitting linear mixed-effects models using lme4. Journal of Statistic Software 67 (1), 148.
Bentzen, Kristine. 2009. Subject positions and their interaction with verb movement. Studia Linguistica 63 (3), 131.
Bentzen, Kristine. 2014. Object Shift. Nordic Atlas of Language Structures (NALS) 1, 332343.
Bentzen, Kristine, Anderssen, Merete & Waldmann, Christian. 2013. Object shift in spoken Mainland Scandinavian: A corpus study of Danish, Norwegian and Swedish. Nordic Journal of Linguistics 36 (2), 115151.
Blom, Elma. 2003. From Root Infinitive to Finite Sentence: The Acquisition of Verbal Inflections and Auxiliaries. Utrecht: LOT Publications.
Cardinaletti, Anna. 2004. Towards a cartography of subject positions. In Rizzi, Luigi (ed.), The Structure of CP and IP: The Cartography of Syntactic Structures, vol. 2, 115165. New York: Oxford University Press.
Clahsen, Harald & Felser, Claudia. 2006. Grammatical processing in language learners. Applied Psycholinguistics 27 (1), 342.
Clahsen, Harald, Meisel, Jürgen M. & Pienemann, Manfred. 1983. Deutsch als Zweisprache: Der Spracherwerb ausländischer Arbeiter. Tübingen: Narr.
Eide, Kristin Melum. 2015. Tilegnelse av verbale kategorier [The acquisition of verbal categories]. In Eide, Kristin M. (ed.), Norsk andrespråkssyntaks [Norwegian second language syntax], 135196. Oslo: Novus.
Firbas, Jan. 1992. Functional Sentence Perspective in Written and Spoken Discourse. Cambridge & New York: Cambridge University Press.
Gundel, Jeanette K. 1985. ‘Shared knowledge’ and topicality. Journal of Pragmatics 9 (1), 83107.
Haegeman, Liliane. 1995. Root infinitives, tense and truncated structures in Dutch. Language Acquisition 4, 205255.
Halliday, M. A. K. 1967. Notes on transitivity and theme in English: Part 2. Journal of Linguistics 3 (2), 199244.
Hamann, Cornelia & Plunkett, Kim. 1998. Subjectless sentences in child Danish. Cognition 69, 3572.
Holmberg, Anders. 1999. Remarks on Holmberg's generalization. Studia Linguistica 53 (1), 139.
Meisel, Jürgen. 1994. Getting FAT: Finiteness, Agreement and Tense in early grammars. In Meisel, Jürgen (ed.), Bilingual First Language Acquisition: French and German Grammatical Development, 89129. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Mikkelsen, Line. 2011. On prosody and focus in Object Shift. Syntax 14 (3), 230264.
Mohr, Sabine. 2005. Clausal Architecture and Subject Positions: Impersonal Constructions in the Germanic Languages (Linguistik Aktuell 88). Amsterdam & Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins.
Nilsen, Øystein. 1997. Adverbs and A-shift. Working Papers in Scandinavian Syntax 59, 131.
Odlin, Terence. 2013. Crosslinguistic influence in second language acquisition. In Chapelle, Carol A. (ed.), Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics, 16. Oxford: Blackwell.
Platzack, Christer. 1998. The Initial Hypothesis of Syntax: A minimalist perspective on language acquisition and attrition. In Clahsen, Harald (ed.), Generative Perspectives on Language Acquisition, 369414. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Poeppel, David & Wexler, Kenneth. 1993. The full competence hypothesis of clause structure in early German. Language 1, 133.
Prévost, Philippe & White, Lydia. 2000. Missing surface inflection or impairment in second language? Evidence from Tense and Agreement. Second Language Research 16 (2), 103133.
Schwartz, Bonnie & Sprouse, Rex. 1996. L2 cognitive states and the full transfer/full access model. Second Language Research 12, 4072.
Snyder, William. 2007. Child Language: The Parametric Approach. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Unsworth, Sharon. 2005. Child L2, Adult L2, Child L1: Differences and Similarities. A Study on the Acquisition of Direct Object Scrambling in Dutch. Ph.D. thesis, Utrecht University.
Westergaard, Marit. 2008. Verb movement and subject placement in the acquisition of word order. In Guijarro-Fuentes, Pedro, Larranaga, Pilar & Clibbens, John (eds.), First Language Acquisition of Morphology and Syntax: Perspectives across Languages and Learners (Language Acquisition and Language Disorders 45), 6186. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Westergaard, Marit. 2009. The Acquisition of Word Order: Micro-cues, Information Structure and Economy. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Westergaard, Marit. 2010. Cue-based acquisition and information structure drift in diachronic language development. In Ferraresi, Gisella & Lühr, Rosemarie (eds.), Diachronic Studies on Information Structure: Language Acquisition and Change (Language, Context and Cognition), 87116. Berlin: de Gruyter.
Westergaard, Marit. 2011. Subject positions and information structure: The effect of frequency on acquisition and change. Studia Linguistica 65 (3), 299332.
Westergaard, Marit. 2014. Linguistic variation and micro-cues in first language acquisition. Linguistic Variation 14 (1), 2645.
Westergaard, Marit & Vangsnes, Øystein Aleksander. 2005. Wh-questions, V2, and the left periphery of three Norwegian dialects. Journal of Comparative Germanic Linguistics 8, 117158.
Wexler, Ken. 2013. Luria's biolinguistic suggestion and the growth of language. In Boeckx, Cedric & Grohmann, Kleanthes K. (eds), Cambridge Handbook of Biolinguistics, 94128. Cambridge & New York: Cambridge University Press.
White, Lydia. 2003. Second Language Acquisition and Universal Grammar. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Wiklund, Anna-Lena, Hrafnbjargarson, Gunnar Hrafn, Bentzen, Kristine & Hróarsdóttir, Thorbjörg. 2007. Rethinking Scandinavian verb movement. Journal of Comparative Germanic Linguistics 10 (3), 203233.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Nordic Journal of Linguistics
  • ISSN: 0332-5865
  • EISSN: 1502-4717
  • URL: /core/journals/nordic-journal-of-linguistics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed