The Processability Hierarchy in Second Language Acquisition: Advanced Learners of Japanese as a Second Language

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  • This cross-sectional study investigates, from a processability theory (PT) perspective, a developmental sequence of acquisition of morphosyntactic constructions with advanced learners of Japanese as a second language (L2). Using Lexical Functional Grammar (LFG)-based analysis, this study hypothesizes formal descriptions of a construction that Kawaguchi (e.g., 2007) categorizes as belonging to Stage 5 in the processability hierarchy (PH)—the ‘wa’ and ‘ga’ particle distinction in matrix and subordinate clauses. The hypothesized descriptions in the present study suggest that the construction actually belongs to Stage 4. L2 learners were tested to determine whether they sequentially followed the newly hypothesized PH, as PT predicts. Although the results support the newly hypothesized developmental stages, distributional analysis indicates the existence of intra-stages within each stage in PH based on the complexity of form-function mapping, as Mansouri (e.g., 2005) suggests. This study also reveals that Stage 5 still needs to be refined through further LFG-based examination.

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  • Copyright © 2014 the author(s). Theses may be used for non-commercial research, educational, or related academic purposes only. Such uses include personal study, research, scholarship, and teaching. Theses may only be shared by linking to Carleton University Institutional Repository and no part may be used without proper attribution to the author. No part may be used for commercial purposes directly or indirectly via a for-profit platform; no adaptation or derivative works are permitted without consent from the copyright owner.
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  • 2014


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