AbstractThe Given-before-New Principle holds in adult speech: Given information tends to precede new information. For instance, in the English dative alternation, the given-theme – i.e., the direct object [DO] – tends to precede the new-recipient – i.e., the indirect object [IO] – in the prepositional dative (e.g., John gave the books to some children), while the given-recipient tends to precede the new-theme in the double object dative (e.g., John gave the children some books). Likewise, in Korean datives, the given-recipient tends to occur earlier in the canonical [IO–DO] order, while the given-theme tends to occur earlier in the scrambled [DO–IO] order. This study investigates whether L1-English adult L2ers of Korean, who have knowledge of the Given-before-New Principle in their L1, automatically adhere to it in their interlanguage. L2ers’ choices between canonical and scrambled dative orders were tested using novel oral contextualized preference tasks. The native speakers of Korean overwhelmingly complied with the Given-before-New Principle. However, the intermediate-to-advanced L2ers exhibited a strong bias for the (default) canonical [IO–DO] order, which apparently overrode the Given-before-New Principle. The findings of analyses by group and by individual are discussed in terms of frequency, syntactic complexity, processing, and null arguments.
Linguistics Vanguard – de Gruyter
Published: Jul 6, 2017
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