Feature assembly in early stages of L2 acquisition

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Based on the feature assembly hypothesis (e.g. Lardiere, 2009), and assuming a universal parser, early stages of second language (L2) acquisition are investigated in this paper. Using a methodology that combines reading time and acceptability judgment data, it is argued that L2 learners&#8217; processing relies on a universal parser that allows the selection of uninterpretable features (even those that are not selected in the learners&#8217; first language, such as <i>u</i>Gender) based on a universal store. The data also suggest that these features are (re-)assembled, as shown by the asymmetries in the reading time data, which are taken to reflect different computational costs associated with different computations (i.e. feature checking and feature underspecification).


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