Sep 29, 2011
Tim Chou's QRP:
The purpose of this paper is three-fold: (i) I show that topic A-movement exists in
Chinese, contra Miyagawa (2010). Specifically, argument displacement in Chinese
raising modal constructions (RMC) is A-movement to Spec-TP, yet semantically exhibits
topicality; (ii) the examination of the derivation of A-movement in RMC under
Miyagawa’s (2010) probe-driven system of movement based on feature inheritance
reveals that the look-ahead problem observed in Boškovic (2007) concerning the EPPbased analysis of successive-cyclic movement (as in Chomsky, 2000 and 2001) extends
to object A-movement in RMC; (iii) I argue that to derive object raising in RMC without
inducing look-ahead computation requires (a) the lexical dissociation of feature
interpretability and valuation to characterize the presence of topic feature in syntactic
derivation (see Pesetsky and Torrego, 2006 and Boškovic, to appear), and (b) the
adoption of Boškovic’s (2007) moving-element-driven system of movement to motivate
topic A-movement in RMC.
Erica Beck's QRP
Do Children Block Learning from Accented-Speakers? The Roles of Social and Phonetic Information
Bilingual children are often faced with an interesting problem in word learning: they often hear speech from a non-native speaking parent, who may use non-target structure or pronunciation. This study examines whether children are able to block word learning based on accent in order to focus on input from native speakers.
English monolinguals and German English bilinguals, aged 5 to 8, heard names of novel objects during a familiarization phase from a native and non-native speaker of English. They were then asked to identify the previously named objects when presented with the labels. The bilinguals also had a German language condition spoken by the same German speaker.
All children were expected to show a preference for native speakers of English over a German-accented speaker of English, and bilinguals were expected to show a stronger preference learning in German compared to the German accented English condition.
The monolinguals preformed as predicted, showing a strong preference for learning from a native speaker of English. Bilinguals, however, showed an overwhelming preference for learning in the German-accented and German language conditions, despite the fact that they were all described as English dominant by their parents. Bilinguals were overall worse at learning in both English conditions than the monolinguals.
The results are discussed in terms of theories about the modes of a bilingual (Soares and Grosjean, 1984; Elston-Guettler et al., 2005), and how social information may cause bilingual learners to ignore accent when learning. Additionally, issues of working memory in word learning will be discussed in relation to the results of the bilingual subjects.