Interfaces in second language English

Thesis Type: Postgraduate

Institution Of The Thesis: Orta Doğu Teknik Üniversitesi, Faculty of Education, Department of Foreign Language Education, Turkey

Approval Date: 2015




The aim of this thesis was to compare the L2 acquisition of two interfaces: syntax-semantics interface (internal interface) and syntax-pragmatics interface (external interface). Disjunctive questions (DQs) were studied for investigating syntax-semantics interface, especially negated DQs (because only high negation DQs cannot have an alternative meaning). The findings related to the syntax-semantics interface revealed that L2ers have the syntactic knowledge of high negation DQs in a native-like manner. However, there was imperfect acquisition of the semantics by L2ers. This suggests that there might be some problems in the acquisition of these phenomena even though they involve an internal interface. It-cleft sentences were examined for investigating syntax-pragmatics interface. The results pertaining the syntax-pragmatics interface showed that the low proficiency L2ers experienced some problems with the syntax of the it-clefts, while the high proficiency L2ers performed in a native-like manner. Surprisingly, both proficiency groups had the pragmatic knowledge that was required for the use of it-clefts in appropriate situations. Even though the low proficiency group lacked the syntactic knowledge of it-clefts, they knew the pragmatic constraints imposed on it-clefts. This indicates that firstly, acquisition of syntax might be problematic at least for low proficiency L2ers. Secondly, the pragmatics of a syntax-discourse interface phenomenon can be acquired fully in a native-like manner without posing any difficulties. Overall, the acquisition of internal interface properties may not be as flawless as it was proposed and also external interface phenomena might be acquired fully without posing special difficulties.