Parsing to Learn
  • ISSN 1879-9264
  • E-ISSN: 1879-9272
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The parsing-to-learn hypothesis (Fodor, 1998) identifying the parser as the language acquisition device (PLAD) is discussed for second-language (L2) grammatical acquisition. Parsing is assumed to involve concomitant UG-sanctioned structure generation and licensing by a parameterized lexicon. In this architecture, licensing induces immediate changes to the lexical knowledge base as new feature matrices for categories and their exponents are registered. Stages arise as these matrices are increasingly activated and can be accessed within the narrow window imposed by working-memory limitations. Specifically, the PLAD instantiates feature re-assembly (Lardiere, 2009) in response to licensing failures (Clark & Roberts, 1993), characterizing transitions between grammatical states (Gregg, 1996, 2003) in the Full Transfer/Full Access model (Schwartz & Sprouse, 1994, 1996). The PLAD is examined in light of current research and of evidence showing mandatory engagement of syntax, breakdown reflecting feature organization, and domain-specificity. The PLAD offers potentially fruitful insights about L2 parsing and grammatical development.


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