Document Type : Research article
Assistant Professor, Department of English Language, Lamerd Branch, Islamic Azad University, Lamerd, IRAN
This study explores the extent to which adult Second Language (L2) Learners of English are sensitive to Subject-Verb (S-V) agreement errors with thematic verbs and copulas. A group of intermediate-to-advanced Persian-English second language learners and a group of native English speakers (NSs) participated in an online Speeded Acceptability Judgment task. The results are as follows. Whereas NSs are sensitive to number agreement errors in both verb types, second language learners are not. For the latter group, the results reveal the following systematic errors. For agreement errors in thematic verbs, there is an omission-commission asymmetry; whereas L2 learners are not sensitive to omission errors, they are sensitive to commission errors in finite forms. For copulas, there is a singular-plural asymmetry, indicating higher error rates in *plural subject NP + is configurations than in *singular subject NP+ are ones. Yet, proficiency seems to be a strong predictor of L2 learners’ sensitivity to agreement errors. The results support the Morphological Underspecification Hypothesis (McCarthy, 2007; 2008; 2012).
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