Inalienable Possession in L2 Spanish

  • Ana T. Perez-Leroux
  • Erin O’rourke
  • Gillian Lord
  • Beatriz Centeno-Cortes
Part of the Studies in Theoretical Psycholinguistics book series (SITP, volume 31)


The study of second language acquisition is defined by two types of problems: the projection problem and the developmental problem. The projection problem, or poverty of the stimulus problem (Chomsky 1986, Flynn & O’Neill 1988, White 1989, etc.) concerns the question of why learners’ knowledge seems to go beyond experience. To address this problem one must build an account for why certain features of the target grammar are easily or automatically acquired despite limited input and absent from explicit instruction. The developmental problem is the problem of how syntax develops over time: why some properties are acquired earlier, while others take more time (Hawkins 2001). In adult language learning, there are properties of the target grammar are not learned easily or well, despite being robustly represented in the input, and targeted for explicit instruction. In the child literature developmental issues are generally dealt in terms of cognitive and processing constraints on the child capacities. In SLA, developmental explanations vary. Specific cases of imperfect learning have led to questioning of the possibility of parameter resetting in adult SLA (Liceras 1998), and more recently, to questioning the role of the morphology in syntactic development (Epstein et al 1996, Beck 1999).


Language Acquisition Definite Article Functional Projection Null Subject Unaccusative Verb 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ana T. Perez-Leroux
  • Erin O’rourke
  • Gillian Lord
  • Beatriz Centeno-Cortes

There are no affiliations available

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