Title: Cross-Linguistic Study of First Language Acquisition of Adverbial Subordinate Clause adjunction and anaphora in Right and Left Branching Languages
Barbara Lust, Tatsuko Wakayama, Yu Chin Chien, James Gair, Suzanne Flynn, Kalyani Karunatillake, Vashini Sharma, Kamal de Abrew
Lab (s) Name (s)
Cornell Language Acquisition Lab
USA, Taiwan, Japan, India, Sri Lanka, South Korea
English, Japanese, Chinese (Mandarin), Korean, Arabic, Sinhalese, Hindi
GENERAL PROJECT DESCRIPTION
Comparative experimental studies have been conducted in 7 languages which vary in their Branching Direction (i.e., direction of recursive clausal adjunction) and Head Direction. Sentences with adverbial subordinate clauses in either rightward or leftward location are tested in each language. Various forms of anaphora (lexical pronouns or null) are tested in forward and backward directions in each language. Comparative experimental data reside in the CLAL and are being analyzed for both universal and language-specific patterns.
PURPOSES OF THE PROJECT
The project tests a parameter setting theory in first language acquisition. It evaluates principles which may guide the child’s acquisition of knowledge of word and constituent order. It tests potential structural constraints on anaphora and its directionality.
This project asks if a parameter of order (directionality), defined in terms of Universal Grammar has effects on early acquisition of languages across the world.