Linear sequencing strategies or UG-defined hierarchical structures in L2 acquisition?

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We respond to Meisel (1997), who concludes, based on second language (L2) negation data, that “second language learners, rather than using structuredependent operations constrained by UG, resort to linear sequencing strategies which apply to surface strings” (p. 258). Like Lardiere (1999) and Prévost and White (1999), we argue (<i>contra</i>Meisel), that the L2ers exhibit not an insensitivity to the [�}] finite distinction, but rather a delay in uniform Target-like mapping of abstract syntactic features onto phonetic forms. We further show that the data are unexceptional once one considers the syntax of negation in the native language, target-language negation input, and L2 proficiency level. Finally, we show that “linear sequencing strategies” are inadequate to account for well-known Interlanguage data.


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