Grammatical Processing in Second Language Learners by yurtgc548

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									Psycholinguistic perspectives on
 grammatical representations

          Harald Clahsen
Introduction

 Uriagereka (2005):
  ‘The future of linguistics may lie in psycholinguistics.

 Chomsky (1981:9):
  ‘Evidence from language acquisition …along with
  evidence derived from psycholinguistic experimentation,
  the study of language use (e.g. processing), language
  deficit, and other sources should be relevant, in
  principle, to determining the properties of UG and of
  particular grammars. But such evidence is, for the
  moment, insufficient to provide much insight concerning
  these problems’


                                                             2
Structure of the talk

   Part I: How to bridge the gap between
    psycholinguistics and theories of
    grammar
   Part II: Evidence from language
    acquisition
   Part III: Evidence from language
    impairments


                                            3
Mental representations of language
Linguistics:
A grammar of a particular language is a mental structure consisting of
grammatical representations which describe what it means to know a
language.

Language Processing:
Operations which transform a mental representation of a linguistic
stimulus into a mental representation of a different form.

Language Acquisition:
A sequence of transitional changes to the mental representations of
language over time

Language Impairments:
A normal set of mental representations of language minus impaired
properties                                                               4
Evaluating psycholinguistic results

• Are there any confounding factors or
  alternative explanations for a given
  psycholinguistic result?

• Is there converging evidence for a given
  finding from other sources?

• Does a given finding confirm/disconfirm a
  specific linguistic account?



                                              5
Language acquisition: The continuity hypothesis

(Weak) Continuity:
The child’s grammar learning device does not change over
time and all developmental changes are due to increases in
the child’s lexicon, semantic and pragmatic knowledge, and
increases in cognitive resources in general.


‘Continuity … makes sure that developmental evidence will
bear on the object of inquiry that the linguist cares about,
the study of systems constrained by the human language
faculty’ (Rizzi 2000: 269).



                                                               6
Three ways of representing regular and irregular
inflection

    Rules all the way down (e.g. Halle &
     Mohanan 1985)

    Associations all the way up (e.g. Bybee
     1995)

    Rules and entries (e.g. Jackendoff
     1997, Wunderlich 1996)

                                               7
German Participles
Regulars:          wischen – gewischt    'to mop - mopped'
                   holen – geholt        'to fetch – fetched'

 are affixed with –t
 never exhibit any stem changes


Irregulars:        fressen – gefressen   'to eat - ate'
                   trinken – getrunken   'to drink - drunk'

 are affixed with –(e)n
 sometimes exhibit (phonologically unpredictable) stem changes


ge- prefixation:   prosodically determined, not morphologically
 occurs when stem is stressed on the first syllable
                                                                  8
Stem formation in German

                    Weak Verbs                     Strong Verbs
              (e.g. kaufen – 'to buy')       (e.g. werfen – 'to throw')


             Present          Preterite       Present        Preterite

1st sg.   (ich) kauf-e     (ich) kaufte     (ich) werf-e   (ich) warf

2nd sg.   (du) kauf-st     (du) kaufte-st   (du) wirf-st   (du) warf-st

3rd pl.   (sie) kauf-en    (sie) kauft-en   (sie) werf-en (sie) warf-
                                                          en

  Part.              gekauf-t                       geworf-en
                                                                          9
Participle formation in German child language

  *gekommt 'come’ (correct: gekommen)

  Age        #        Total    -t          -n
  range      children errors   errors      errors
  Existing verbs
  1;4-3;9    9        116      108 (93%) 8 (7%)
  3;6-6;11 51         88       77 (87,5%) 11 (12,5%
  7;2-8;11 19         64       59 (92,2%) 5 (7,8%)
  Nonce words
  3;10-8;10 41        454      422 (93%)    32 (7%)



                                                      10
Verb Frequency and Suffixation Errors



                              100
                              90
                              80
    Suffixation Errors in %




                              70
                                                                                            61
                              60
                              50
                              40
                              30
                              20
                                                                  10
                              10              5.5
                                    0.8                   2.5                  1.2
                               0
                                          > 200             200 - 30                 < 30
                                           Absolute Token Frequency of Elicited Items
                                                    according to Ruoff (1981)

                                     -n Errors with Reg. Verbs     -t Errors with Irr. Verbs



                                                                                                 11
 Stem formation errors in German child language

73 samples of spontaneous speech from 7 children
covering the age period of 1;11 to 3;8
                                                    Number
                                                    of cases

 I.    Overapplications of unmarked stem            84 (88.4%)
(a)    er lauft ‘ he runs’    (correct: läuft)
(b)    sie lest ‘she reads’   (correct: liest)

II.    Paradigmatic errors:                         11 (11,5%)
(c)    alle fäll da runter     (correct: fall-en)
       ‘everybody fall down there’
(d)    ich gib dir das         (correct: geb(e))
       ‘I give you that’
(e)    ich sieh (‘I see’)      (correct: seh(e))

III.   Irregularization error                       non-existent
       *sie tänzt               (correct: tanzt)
        ‘she dances‘
                                                                   12
Stem formation errors in German child language


 Auditory elicited production task with 26 children (age: 6;2
 to 10;5):

 Martin will unbedingt den neuen Pokemon-Film sehen.
 ‘M. definitely wants to see the new pokemon movie’.

 Also gibt ihm seine Mutter Geld und Martin beep den Film. 
 sieht
 ‘Hence his mother gives him some money, and Martin ___
 the movie’




                                                                13
 Results of the elicited production task

   There were 168 errors out of 555                  Stem overregularizations in relation to age
    elicited forms; all errors were
    overapplications of the unmarked stem.
                                                      60

   Low-frequency stems elicit significantly
    more stem errors than high-frequency              50
    ones :
                 Errors Correct       Error
                                                      40
                        stems         %
-i- / high freq. 19     136           12.2%
                                                      30
-i- / low freq. 89      59            37.3%
-ä- / high freq. 9      118           7.0%
                                                      20
-ä- / low freq. 51      74            40.8%
Totals           168    387           30.2%
                                          OR (in %)



                                                      10


                                                      0
                                                           6     7     8       9       10      11


                                                           AGE

                                                                                              14
Preliminary summary
 Regular/irregular contrasts in children‘s inflectional
  errors:
  Children overapply the regular –t participle suffix and the
  unmarked stem to irregular verbs.

 Frequency effects in children‘s inflectional errors:
  Children produce more overregularizations for irregular
  verbs with low frequencies than for those with high
  frequencies.

 Age effects in children‘s inflectional errors:
  Overregularization errors decrease with age.


                                                                15
Confounding factors?

     Regular ‚rules‘ of morphology usually have high
      type frequency and apply to a large number of
      different forms.
     The type frequency of the German –t participle is
      much higher than that of irregulars.

                          (Bybee 1999, Stemberger 1999)



                 Input frequencies (in types)
(4 corpora, children from 1;5 to 2;1, app. 40,000 words):
-t participle forms: 45%          -n participle forms: 55%

                                                             16
Converging evidence?

   Within the same language:
    Plural formation in German child language
                       (Clahsen et al. 1992, Bartke 1998)

   Across languages:
    - Development of the English past-tense
                                   (Marcus et al. 1992)
    - Development of verb inflection in L1 Spanish
                                   (Clahsen et al. 2002)




                                                        17
Specific theory?


 A. Rules all the way down

 B. Associations all the way up

 C. Rules and entries



      Acquisition results provide evidence
      against (A) and (B).
                                             18
Specific theory?

The basic distinction between combinatorial and
frozen forms can be implemented in different ways:

- Rules and entries (e.g. Wunderlich 1996)

- Rules that contain variables and those that have a
  constant output (e.g. Blevins 2001)
  a.  <[V, 3sg, pres, ind], X+s>
  b.  <[V, 3sg, pres, ind, be], is>

- Probabilistic rules vs. default rules (Yang 2000)

    Acquisition results do not help to decide
    between these accounts.
                                                       19
Language impairments

The breakdown-compatibility criterion:
Patterns of impairment and sparing of linguistic ability
should be compatible with linguistic theory.
                                   (Grodzinsky 1990: 111)


Double dissociations:
Given two linguistic phenomena A and B, if A is impaired in
one population (where B is spared) and B is impaired in
another population (where A is spared), then A and B are
likely to be supported by different mental representations.


                                                              20
Passives in syntactic theory

Transformational accounts (e.g. Chomsky
 1981):
         [[The fish]i is [[eaten ti ]] [by the man]]

                 Achain


 Lexicalist accounts (e.g. Bresnan 1982):
  [The man] eats [the fish] / [The fish] is eaten [by the man]

  SUBJ            OBJ            OBJ                   SUBJ

Functional changes: SUBJ  OBJ (BY OBJ); OBJ  SUBJ
Morphological change: V  Vpart
                                                              21
Binding in syntactic theory

 Standard Binding Theory (Chomsky 1981)

 Binding of non-reflexive pronouns is based on
 principles of semantic interpretation, reflexive
 binding is defined of syntactic constraints on
 potential antecedent domains (e.g. Pollard & Sag
 1992, Kiparky 2002).

 Deriving binding phenomena from independent
 syntactic principles (Hornstein 2001, Reuland
 2001).
 John believes [that [Maryi] [[likes herselfi]]]
                                                   A-chain   22
Down’s Syndrome

 DS is a congenital disorder caused by an extra
  copy of a segment of Chromosome 21 that is
  associated with specific physical features and
  cognitive delay.
 Language abilities are relatively more impaired
  than other areas of cognition.
 Morphosyntax is more impaired than other
  linguistic domains.
 Patterns of morphosyntactic skill that are
  qualitatively different from those observed in
  normally developing children.


                                                    23
Participants

           Mental Age   Chronological Age   Number of
             (mean)          (range)         subjects

   WS5         5;6         10;3-13;3           5

   WS7         7;7         12;2-16;2           5

   DS5         5;7        12;3 – 13;4          4

   DS6         6;4         12;6-13;2           4

   CTR5        5;6          5;3-5;9            10

   CTR6        6;3         6;1-6;10            10

   CTR7        7;7         7;3-7;10            10

                                                        24
Method: Passives

      Picture-pointing task (Van der Lely, 1996)
   1. Active transitive: The man eats the fish
   2. Full verbal passive:
     The fish is eaten by the man
   3. Short progressive passive:
     The fish is being eaten
   4. Ambiguous passive:
     The fish is eaten
Passives: visual materials
            The fish is eaten by the man
                        1
                                      2

 1. Correct

 2. Adjectival

 3. Reversal
                        3            4
 4. Distracter




                                           26
Method: Binding

 1. Name-pronoun:
 Is Mowgli tickling him?
 2. Name-reflexive:
 Is Mowgli tickling himself?



 3. Quantifier-pronoun:
 Is every monkey tickling
 him?
 4. Quantifier-reflexive:
 Is every monkey tickling
 himself?
                               27
Results: Binding

      Percentages Correct: DS vs. Controls
100


 80


 60


 40


 20


 0
               DS                           Controls
                    Reflexives             Pronouns

      DS: significantly lower scores on reflexive conditions
                                                               28
  Results: Passives
Percentages Correct and Percentages of Reversal Responses
  100

   80

   60

   40

   20

    0
                      DS                              Controls
    Active   Full Passive   Short Passive   Ambiguous Passive    Reversals
        DS: chance performance on passives and sig.
        more reversal responses than controls.                               29
Preliminary Summary

 DS: Binding
  – good performance on pronouns
  – poor performance on reflexives


 DS:   Passives
  – low accuracy on passive structures
  – high number of reversal errors


                                         30
Confounding factors?

  Can the DS children‘s difficulties with
   passives and reflexive binding be derived
   from their low IQ levels?
  Comparison with Williams Syndrome

  Can the DS children‘s difficulties with
   passives and reflexive binding be explained
   in terms of delayed language development?
  Comparison with younger normal children



                                                 31
Binding in Williams Syndrome
           Percentages Correct: WS vs. Controls

100


80


60


40


20


 0
                 WS                         Controls
                      Reflexives           Pronouns

  WS: high correctness scores and no significant differences to controls
                                                                       32
Passives in Williams Syndrome
           Percentages Correct: WS vs. Controls
 100


 80


 60


 40


 20


  0
                    WS                          Controls
       Active   Full Passive   Short Passive   Ambiguous Passive

 WS: high correctness scores and no significant differences to controls
                                                                      33
Binding in younger normal children

  Reflexives:
   30 children (age range: 2;6 – 5;3) achieved
   accuracy scores of >90% (McKee 1992).

  Pronouns:
   19 children (age range: 4;0 – 5;1) achieved
   accuracy scores of <50% (Thornton &
   Wexler 1999).




                                                 34
Converging evidence?

  Binding:
   Perovic (2004) tested four young adults with DS (CA:
   17;2 to 20;7 years) achieving near perfect accuracy
   scores of >90% on non-reflexive pronouns and poor
   scores of <60% on reflexives.
  Passives:
   Bridges & Smith (1984) tested 24 DS and 24 non-
   retarded children matched to the DS children and
   found accuracy scores of over 80% on actives and of
   around 50% on passives.




                                                          35
Breakdown compatability?

A   double dissociation:
                  + reflex. - reflex.

         DS          -          +

        Young        +          -
        normal
       children




                                        36
Breakdown compatability?

 DS: Binding and Passives
  - impaired reflexive binding
  - low accuracy on passive structures


 Binding of reflexives and passivization
  involve the same syntactic mechanism (A-
  chains).




                                             37
Conclusion

  Has any theoretical linguist ever changed his/her
  theory in the face of psycholinguistic evidence?
 Common ground: the search for the most
  appropriate mental representations for language.
 Three criteria for evaluating psycholinguistic
  results

Psycholinguistic evidence may help to adjudicate
 between competing linguistic accounts.


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