Control before Raising in Thai EFL Grammar

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Kittirit Teeranate
Pornsiri Singhapreecha

Abstract

This study investigated the acquisition of English control and raising (over Experiencer) constructions with three groups of Thai EFL learners (lower intermediate, intermediate, and advanced). Thai and English, with respect to control, commonly have PRO and infinitive markers, but Thai does not exhibit (subject-to-subject) raising, unlike English. Our hypotheses were based on L1/L2 similarities, access to UG, and previous studies. We hypothesized that Thai learners’ performance on raising would be above chance, based on UG availability and potentials for the learning of English raising suggested in Witoon (2012). In addition, based on L1/L2 similarities and Yoshimura et al.’s (2016) findings, Thai learners’ performance on control would be more accurate than raising. Grammaticality judgment/comprehension trials were employed; results were obtained by ANOVAs. The first hypothesis was confirmed by the intermediate and advanced groups. Tests on the second hypothesis revealed a confirmation; there were ceiling performances across groups on control and a development pattern on raising. The study’s findings suggest facilitation of L1/L2 similarities and restrictions on UG access. Particularly, L2 learners can access linking between PRO and arguments more readily than raising of arguments, suggesting UG access is restricted by marked properties of L2 structures, such as English raising over Experiencer.

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Author Biographies

Kittirit Teeranate, Language Institute, Thammasat University, Thailand

A graduate from the MA in ELT program of the Language Institute of Thammasat University in Thailand. His research interests are Second Language Acquisition and English Language Teaching.

Pornsiri Singhapreecha, Language Institute, Thammasat University, Thailand

Professor of Linguistics at the Language Institute of Thammasat University. Her areas of research are syntactic theory, second language acquisition (within the Generative model), and L1 and L2 processing.

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