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The Russian Reflexive in Second-Language Acquisition: Binding Preferences and L1 Transfer

Czeczulin, Annalisa Olivia (2007) The Russian Reflexive in Second-Language Acquisition: Binding Preferences and L1 Transfer. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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THE RUSSIAN REFLEXIVE IN SECOND-LANGUAGE ACQUISITION:BINDING PREFERENCES AND L1 TRANSFERAnnalisa Czeczulin, PhDUniversity of Pittsburgh, 2007This dissertation investigates knowledge of reflexives by adult English-speaking learners of Russian as a second language. The study uses an experimental methodology to ascertain the extent to which a speaker's native language (L1) influences his or her acquisition of the second language (L2). The thesis concerns L2 acquisition of the reflexive object pronoun sebja, the reflexive possessive pronoun svoj, and the post-verbal affix -sja and investigates the claim that unlike in English, in Russian some anaphors may be bound long-distance (LD) outside non-finite embedded clauses. Twenty non-native and ten native speakers of Russian were tested during the first experiment, and ten non-native and ten native speakers during the second experiment. The experiments were based on Bennett and Progovac (1993) and White et al (1997).The first experiment found that the more proficient the L2 speakers become, the more their binding pattern reflects that of the L1 informants, suggesting that the L2 subjects depend on their L1 parameters and settings to bind in the L2, but that this dependence wanes as they become more proficient. L2 learners of Russian maintain their L1 AGR parameter in the L2, but transfer their L1 Xmax binding type at first. Following training, L2 subjects showed greater sensitivity to ambiguity of reference for sebja than native Russian speakers or overgeneralized the training. Although no resetting of parameters was observed during the research, the possibility of resetting parameters looks promising. This resetting will vary across reflexive and sentence types.The second experiment, which evaluated the effects of preferences and pragmatics on binding, suggests that two grammars exist in Russian speakers and that language change may be underway in Russian where LD anaphora are concerned. The L2 subjects were less successful in this experiment and violated the c-command requirement for reflexives. LD binding could be induced through introduction of a verb of power in combination with a LD antecedent deemed to have control over the local antecedent.The experiment's results conclude that Bennett and Progovac's (1993) X0/Xmax addition to Chomsky's Binding Theory does not adequately explain the current binding situation in Russian.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Czeczulin, Annalisa
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee CoChairJuffs, Alanjuffs@pitt.eduJUFFS
Committee CoChairBirnbaum, David J.djbpitt@pitt.eduDJBPITT
Committee MemberSwan, Oscarswan@pitt.eduSWAN
Committee MemberDeKeyser,
Date: 20 September 2007
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 16 July 2007
Approval Date: 20 September 2007
Submission Date: 9 August 2007
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Slavic Languages and Literatures
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Linguistics; Slavic; Universal Grammar
Other ID:, etd-08092007-210838
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:58
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:48


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