Minimal Link Condition and UG Operation in Second Language Acquisition

By Fariba Rahimi Esfahani and Farshad Kiyoumarsi.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The question of accessibility of UG has received a lot of ink in the field of second language acquisition. Although there is a strong claim that UG plays a crucial function in the acquisition of the first language (L1), it is still not clear whether UG has the same role in SLA or not. This paper investigates the question of whether Minimal Link Condition as a UG principle is available to non native learners of English in different contexts. To achieve this end, two groups of Iranian learners, one group studying English in Iran and one in the United States at the time of study, were tested on the Minimal Link Condition in English. There were also a control group, composed of native speakers of English. The Iran group consisted of 30 students, both male and female, all of whom were majoring in EFL in Khorasgan university. The subjects in this group were chosen based on their TOEFL scores. The US group consisted of 25 subjects, both male and female, majoring in six different fields in the United States. They were asked to report their TOEFL scores. Then a Universal Grammar (UG) MLC test containing 40 items was administered to the students in Iran group. Besides, the MLC test was sent to the Iranian students in US and also to 15 English native speakers via E-mail. The results revealed that the performance of the US group was significantly different from that of the Iran group. Moreover, both groups differed from native speakers of English significantly in terms of their grammaticality judgment. These results suggest that UG does play a role in SLA but not to the same extent as it does in first language acquisition, and the poorer performance of the students in Iran (Iran group) is due to the need for a process of parameter resetting. Moreover, proficiency was found to be the strongest influential factor for UG activation in SLA. Given these findings, classroom instruction based on UG activation will be suggested.

Keywords: Minimal Link Condition (MLC), EFL Learners, Second Language Acquisition (SLA), Universal Grammar (UG)

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 11, pp.47-62. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.296MB).

Fariba Rahimi Esfahani

University Faculty Member, English Department, Shahrekord Branch, Islamic Azad University (Shahrekord Branch)

I am Fariba Rahimi Esfahani. I’m a faculty member in Azad university of shahrekord (Iran). I’m a PhD student majoring in Teacing English as a Foreign Language (TEFL).

Farshad Kiyoumarsi

Islamic Azad University (Shahrekord Branch), Iran (Islamic Republic of)

•PhD in Computer Science, thesis title: “Text summarization based on fuzzy logic”, Mathematics and computer Group, Shahid Bahonar University, Kerman Iran. •Head of Department of Computer Science, Islamic Azad University (Shahrekord Branch), Iran. •Research Area: Natural Language Processing, Information Extraction

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