The Nature of acquisition and processing of island constraints by Turkish learners of English

Demir, Orhan
The primary goal of this thesis was to test the validity of the Full Transfer Full Access (FTFA) Hypothesis on the acquisition of island constraints by Turkish learners of English. The FTFA Hypothesis claims that L2ers have access to UG even at the initial state, which is assumed to be the final state of L1, and there is a gradual restructuring of L2 grammar. The second goal was to investigate whether Turkish learners of English employ the same parsing strategies in bi-clausal wh-questions. If so, the results would support the Continuity Hypothesis arguing that Universal Parser is available in SLA. Four experiments were conducted in this study. The first two experiments were devised to shed light on the acquisition and processing of island constraints. Two experimental groups (30 intermediate and 30 advanced learners of English) and a control group (30 native speakers of English) were employed for these tests. The third and fourth experiments were administered to display whether there were similarities between the way native speakers of Turkish and English resolve ambiguities and whether island constraints were operative in Turkish. 30 native speakers of Turkish participated in these experiments. The results showed that different processing strategies for the resolution of ambiguities were employed in English and Turkish and island constraints were not operative in Turkish. Besides, Turkish learners of English had access to UG and there was a developmental pattern for the restructuring of L2 grammar. Furthermore, a gradual approximation to the native speakers’ parsing strategies was observed.