Browsing by Author "Abdollahnejad, Elias"
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- ItemOpen AccessAcquisition of Tense and Lax Vowels by Persian Learners of English(2020-11-19) Abdollahnejad, EliasThis study investigates the qualitative and quantitative features of English tense (/i: & u:/) and lax (/ɪ & ʊ/) vowels in the L2 production of advanced L1 Persian speakers. The first two formants (F1 & F2) are used to determine the spectral quality of vowels, while the vowel length (in milliseconds) represents the vowel quality. Unlike English, which has two high front (/i:/ & /ɪ/) and back (/u:/ & /ʊ/) vowels, Persian has only one high front vowel /i/ and one high back vowel /u/. Considering this difference, the main questions of this study are whether L1 Persian speakers have separate representations of English tense and lax vowels in their L2 phonological inventory and, if yes, whether they differentiate these vowels based on their qualitative and/or quantitative features. According to the Equivalence Classification Hypothesis (Flege, 1987), L1 Persian speakers are expected to assimilate/merge English front vowels /i: & ɪ/ to their existing L1 single front vowel /i/ and English /u: & ʊ/ to their existing single Persian back vowel /u/. A group of ten female advanced L1 Persian speakers of English are compared with a control group of ten female native English speakers in their production of these vowels in open and closed syllables. Results show that while both quality and quantity are used by English speakers, the Persian speakers have difficulties in acquiring this distinction in their L2 English on both measures. However, the difficulty seems to be mostly in the acquisition of L2 phonetic features (i.e. gradual) than phonological ones (i.e. categorical).
- ItemOpen AccessCompeting grammars in language acquisition: the case of resumption in Persion relative clauses(Calgary Working Papers in Linguistics, 2018-11-05) Abdollahnejad, EliasRoeper (1999), Yang (2002), and Amaral and Roeper (2014) propose that all learners develop competing, even incompatible analyses of input as they work towards the target grammar. Using the term universal bilingualism, Roeper (1999) posits the existence of such Multiple Grammars (MG) and explores their role in first language acquisition. This paper discusses this proposal in the context of Persian children’s acquisition of resumption. In Persian, resumption is obligatory in object-of-preposition and genitive relative clauses (RCs) (Taghvaipour, 2005) and can be used optionally in subject and object RCs (Windfuhr, 2010). This behaviour makes it an appropriate construction to study the MG approach. Data from three Persian children (ages 1;11 to 4;2) in the CHILDES database (MacWhinney, 2000) were investigated for the frequency of RCs to see if there is a preference for resumption or gap in RCs. Results show that, in spite of variation in the received input, children prefer not to use resumption in subject and object RCs. However, 100% use of resumption in object-of-preposition and genitive RCs in their production data was observed. Despite optionality as a property of the input, children’s grammars appear to be categorical. Thus, children do not seem to be sensitive to variation in the input, which does not completely support Yang’s (2002) claim about the role of frequency of different forms in their dominance. The results confirm the presence of competing sub-grammars (resumption & gap) in both input and output from the early levels of language exposure and production.
- ItemOpen AccessOnline and Offline Examinations of Constituent Order in Persian Ditransitives(2020-06-17) Abdollahnejad, Elias; Storoshenko, Dennis Ryan; Carroll, Susanne; Ritter, Elizabeth; Pexman, Penny M.; Ghomeshi, JilaThe present dissertation is an empirical investigation of ordering variation of objects in Persian ditransitive through the use of a judgement survey (offline) and two online psycholinguistic techniques: self-paced reading (Just et al., 1982) and cross-modal lexical priming (Swinney et al., 1979). Leaning on the well-established literature on the active filler-gap dependency processing, the present work is an attempt to tackle the issue of the relative orderings of the direct object (DO) and the indirect object (IO) in Persian ditransitive structures, in which the specificity (specific in the discourse) of the DO determines its surface position relative to the IO, i.e. DO[+Specific]-IO, IO-DO[-Specific]. There are two existing analyses of the sources of this object ordering variation in Persian ditransitives; (i) it is caused by two distinct processes (two separate Merge operations), (ii) it is caused by a single process with two possible stages (a Merge and a Move operation). This syntactic question provides a good case study to achieve the main goal of the dissertation: showing that some well-established online techniques extend to Persian and can be used to shed light on a controversial syntactic structure for which the syntactic accounts have not been able to provide a conclusive analysis. The survey is designed to provide systematic acceptability judgements of some commonly discussed syntactic diagnostics used in arguments for either of the two existing analyses of Persian ditransitives. The unclear results of the survey are used as an argument for motivating online methods to investigate the case of ordering variation in Persian ditransitives. The results of both online studies show evidence of a copy/trace of the DO after the IO in DO[+Specific]-IO structures indicating its movement. The cross-modal lexical priming study also indicates that this movement is an A-movement operation. According to the results of this dissertation, these online techniques extend to Persian and, therefore, can be utilized to tackle theoretical questions in the language. The overall results also show that a convincing argument for a single theoretical analysis can be made using the results of a planned series of studies that approach an issue using different methodologies.