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Modular and Extra-modular Second Language Knowledge of Unaccusativity and Unergativity by Najdi Arabic L2 Learners of English

Al Khalaf, Maha Abdullah H (2018) Modular and Extra-modular Second Language Knowledge of Unaccusativity and Unergativity by Najdi Arabic L2 Learners of English. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

The existence of two types of second language knowledge, namely acquired and learned, implicit and explicit (or more accurately, modular and extra-modular second-language knowledge) has long been accepted by different theories within the field of second language acquisition. However, this consensus is hampered in part by a lack of empirical evidence of how each type of second language might manifest itself in the production and comprehension of the second-language learner. Adopting the Modular Cognitive Framework (Truscott & Sharwood Smith, 2004a; 2004b), this thesis aims to establish a detailed account of the nature of development of the two types of knowledge; how different input experiences stimulate the development of different types of L2 knowledge. The thesis also aims to explore how L1 cross-linguistic influence would fade with more frequent encounters with L2. The linguistic constructions tested are unaccusative and unergative verbs. The basis of choosing the linguistic constructions is the L2 English classroom practice of oversimplifying the notion of intransitivity and avoiding explicit teaching of syntactic and semantic aspects of the unaccusative and its argument. The study incorporates two empirical tasks measuring L2 comprehension and production: a reaction-time reading comprehension task, comparing Najdi Arabic L2 English learners’ response time to sentences with unaccusative verbs compared to response time to sentences with unergative verbs and an error-correction and rule-verbalisation task comparing Najdi Arabic learners’ ability to correct ungrammatical sentences with unaccusative verbs compared to correcting ungrammatical sentences with unergative verbs. Findings from the current experimental study support what the Competing Systems Hypothesis (Rothman, 2008) seems to suggest: while L2 production could be guided by both modular as well as extra-modular L2 knowledge, L2 comprehension could only be guided by modular L2 knowledge.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Languages Cultures and Societies (Leeds) > Linguistics & Phonetics (Leeds)
Depositing User: Mrs Maha Alkhalaf
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2019 09:11
Last Modified: 24 Jun 2019 09:11
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/24147

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