Quantifiers: Form and Meaning in Second Language Development

  • Kook-Hee GilEmail author
  • Heather Marsden
  • Melinda Whong
Part of the Educational Linguistics book series (EDUL, volume 16)


Research into the second language acquisition of quantifiers (every, any, some, etc.) sheds light on the L2 development of form and meaning in an area of language that is not usually a key focus of the language classroom. This chapter begins with an overview of some existing studies of L2 acquisition of quantifiers, the majority of which investigate phenomena that are not only absent from classroom instruction but are also not directly deducible from the input: “poverty of the stimulus” phenomena. The findings show that subtle properties of quantifiers are difficult to acquire—particularly if they involve the syntax-pragmatics interface—but they often emerge in advanced learners, even without teaching or direct evidence in the input. The chapter then explores how language teaching might accelerate acquisition of such late-emerging aspects of the L2. We report the findings of a pilot study (Gil K-H, Marsden H, Whong M. Can explicit grammar instruction serve as evidence for L2 grammar restructuring? In: Stavrakaki S, Konstantinopoulou P, Lalioti M (eds) Proceedings of GALA 2011. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Cambridge, to appear) on the effect of providing focus on form instruction about the English quantifier any. Though inconclusive, the findings raise new research questions that are of interest to both generative L2 acquisition researchers and classroom researchers. We conclude that collaborative research will enrich both fields.


Language Teaching Sentence Type Existential Quantifier Japanese Speaker Negative Inference 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of English Literature, Language and LinguisticsUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldUK
  2. 2.Department of Language and Linguistic ScienceUniversity of YorkYorkUK
  3. 3.Department of Linguistics and Phonetics, School of Modern Languages and CulturesUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK

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