“Every student didn’t learn English” the acquisition of scope by L2 learners of English

Thesis Type: Postgraduate

Institution Of The Thesis: Middle East Technical University, Turkey

Approval Date: 2016

Thesis Language: English

Student: Nazlınur Göktürk



This thesis examines how Turkish learners of English interpret constructions involving negation and a universal quantifier phrase such as every squirrel didn’t pick up nuts. Two experiments were conducted in this study. The first experiment, which consisted of an off-line acceptability rating task, was devised to set the baseline for Turkish and English native speakers’ scope interpretations of the target constructions, and to test how L2 learners with different proficiency levels (i.e., intermediate and advanced) interpret the target constructions. It was administered to the English, and Turkish native speakers, intermediate and advanced L2 learners. The second experiment, which involved a self-paced reading task in tandem with an end-of-trial truth-value judgment task, aimed to find out how Turkish L2 learners of English comprehend the target statements in real-time. It was administered to the native speakers of English, intermediate and advanced L2 learners. The results of the off-line study showed that there was not a developmental pattern in L2 learners’ scope judgments, contrary to the assumptions of the Full Transfer/Full Access Hypothesis. The advanced L2 learners were found to behave like Turkish native speakers in their scope judgments, while the intermediate L2 learners seemed to exhibit native-like behavior in their scope judgments. However, the results from the on-line study revealed that intermediate L2 learners processed the target constructions in a non-native-like manner, whereas the advanced L2 learners manifested native-like processing behavior in the interpretation of the target constructions. The observed differences in the L2 learner group are accounted by integrating the Developmentally Moderated Transfer Hypothesis and a pragmatic account of Turkish quantifier scope.