chapter  9
20 Pages

The acquisition of resumptive pronouns

How do second language learners of Arabic do it?
ByDola Algady

This chapter investigates the nature of interlanguage grammars of Arabic-English resumptive pronouns within relative clause constructions. It examines the role of economy conditions of the minimalist program on syntactic derivations in accounting for the process of second language acquisition of Arabic resumptive pronouns. The chapter shows that the distribution of resumptive pronouns in the interlanguage grammar is constrained by the economy condition of merge-over-move and the shortest derivation requirement, which are related to the number of the steps required in the syntactic derivation. It argues that these results suggest that minimalist account can be implemented to specify what language features and operations are least accessible to the second language leaner. The chapter discusses how the different aspects of relativization are defined in terms of economy and how the cost of derivations can provide an account for IL grammars. The chapter concludes that the general principles of computational efficiency of syntactic derivations are operative on the process of second language acquisition.