FORMS OF EVIDENCE AND GRAMMATICAL DEVELOPMENT IN THE ACQUISITION OF ADJECTIVE POSITION IN L2 FRENCH
The present study examines classroom learners' course of grammatical development in acquiring the interpretive correlates of variable adjective position in French. Eventual attainment of the target language system requires not only knowledge of linear word-order possibilities within the determiner phrase that differ from their native language (English) but knowledge of the interpretive differences between the two orders as well. Results from a contextualized acceptability judgment task administered to monolingual English-speaker controls, four groups of university-level learners of French, and native-French-speaker controls (N = 157) show that adjective position-interpretation pairings are eventually acquired, although with a high degree of between-learner variability in rate. Based on an analysis of both individual and group acceptance rates, I argue that eventual attainment of the second language system requires a priori knowledge of a specific representational format—supporting the notion of the domain-specificity of language as pursued in generative accounts of SLA—but that the course of grammatical development is affected by a number of group- and learner-specific variables that mediate depth of processing (following Gass, 1997). a(Received July 10 2007)
c1 Bruce Anderson, Department of French & Italian, University of California, 1 Shields Ave., Davis, CA 95616; e-mail: email@example.com
a I am indebted to a number of individuals who helped me bring this manuscript to publication, including Laurent Dekydtspotter, the director of my 2002 dissertation at Indiana University, where the research presented in this manuscript was begun; several anonymous SSLA reviewers, who provided insightful and constructively critical comments; and the editorial staff of SSLA, who provided much encouragement and showed great patience.