EUROSLA Yearbook: Volume 13 (2013)
  • ISSN 1568-1491
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9749
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This paper aims to contribute to the discussion pertaining to the source of optionality in second language (L2) pronominal interpretation. We examined pronominal use not only in L2 English adverbial – adjunct CP clauses (‘The student was upset because he had failed the test’), but also in English VP-coordination structures (‘Jane had studied hard and (she) passed the exam’), an area which has never been investigated before. While English adjunct CP clauses represent a context in which overt pronominal subjects are obligatory, in VP-coordination pronouns can be apparently dropped. These structures were tested by means of two English production tasks: a Sentence Completion task and a Cloze Test. Our results showed that compared to the English controls the Greek learners used (a) significantly more ungrammatical null subjects in adjunct CP clauses and, crucially, (b) significantly more overt pronominal subjects in VP-coordination structures. After examining two possible accounts for the observed optionality, namely, the Interface Hypothesis and the Interpretability Hypothesis, we argue that a language internal syntax explanation best addresses our data both in the adjunct CP clauses and in the VP-coordination structures.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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