Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

Processing Relative Clauses in Turkish as a Second Language

Özçelik, Öner (2006) Processing Relative Clauses in Turkish as a Second Language. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

Primary Text

Download (2MB) | Preview


The present study focuses on the processing of relative clauses in Turkish as a second language. The specific purpose of the study is to address the gap in the previous research with regard to why certain relative clause constructions should be more difficult to process than others. For example, in English, object relative clauses such as "the lion that the cow carries" are more difficult to comprehend and produce than subject relative clauses such as "the lion that carries the cow." It has been stated for both L1 and L2 learners that these observed differences in difficulty parallel the implicational relationships in Keenan and Comrie's (1977) Noun Phrase Accessibility Hierarchy Hypothesis (NPAH). Although there has been some research on this issue, the question of why the acquisition order follows this pattern has never fully been answered since different theories make the same predictions for languages that have been investigated thus far. However, in an SOV language like Turkish, because of its particular structural characteristics, the predictions of those theories diverge, and thus their separate effects can be disentangled. Therefore, the present study explores the issue using the Turkish language. The results of picture selection tasks taken by 20 English and 7 Japanese, Korean and Mongolian learners of Turkish indicate that learners have an easier time with processing object relative clauses than subject relative clauses contrary to the results in the literature for the same construction in other languages. These results have significant implications for the theory of second language acquisition. These implications include, among others, questions about the accuracy of current views of "interlanguages" (language learner languages) and of the role of "language universals" in second language acquisition.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Özçelik, Ö
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairJuffs, Alanjuffs@pitt.eduJUFFS
Committee MemberMasullo, Pascualpascual@pitt.eduPASCUAL
Committee MemberWarren, Tessatessa@pitt.eduTESSA
Date: 27 June 2006
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 14 April 2006
Approval Date: 27 June 2006
Submission Date: 26 April 2006
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Linguistics
Degree: MA - Master of Arts
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: canonical word order; frequency; gap; head; language processing; Linear Distance Hypothesis; Noun Phrase Accessibility Hierarchy Hypothesis; relative clauses; Structural Distance Hypothesis; trace; Word Order Difference Hypothesis
Other ID:, etd-04262006-041512
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:42
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:42


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item