Taalverwerving in onderzoek
  • ISSN 0169-7420
  • E-ISSN: 2213-4883
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The subset principle, recently formulated by Wexler and Manzini as a theorem in L1 acquisition, can be roughly described as a learning function linking a set of input data to a grammar G which generates the "smallest language" compatible with such a set. This property of G guarantees that the acquisition process can only take place on the basis of positive evidence; negative evidence thus does not have to play a role. This article discusses the question whether the subset principle also plays a role in the process of second language acquisition. Contrary to what is suggested in the literature it has to be concluded that as an L2 acquisition strategy the subset principle is either redundant or incoherent. The reasoning on which this conclusion is based involves certain implications for the research concerning the problem of overgeneralisation in L2 acquisition.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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