Volume 4 Issue 1-2 (2015)

Second Language Acquisition of Syntactic Movement in English by Turkish Adult Learners

pp. 23-36  |  Published Online: December 2015  |  DOI: 10.12973/unibulletin.412.3

Reyhan Agcam, Mustafa Coban, Zeynep Karadeniz Cisdik


There has been much discussion on the involvement of Universal Grammar (UG) in Second Language Acquisition (SLA) process. Despite growing research in the field, few precise answers to the problem have been suggested so far. Hence, recent L2 studies within the generative framework have shifted from investigating this issue to determining whether or not interlanguage grammars exhibit natural language characteristics (Can, Kilimci & Altunkol, 2007). The present study aimed to investigate L2 acquisition of syntactic movement in English noun clauses by Turkish adult learners. Accordingly, L1 involvement in SLA was sought through examining the upper intermediate Turkish learners’ knowledge about the movement in question. The study addressed the questions of whether or not Turkish adult ESL learners have problems, stemming from L1 interference, with the construction of the syntactic movement in English noun clauses, and whether or not there is any order of acquisition between the noun clauses in subject position and object position along with various wh-words. The study reported related findings, and concluded with a few pedagogical implications for practice, and a couple of suggestions for further directions.

Keywords: second language acquisition, universal grammar, syntactic movement, noun clause


Aygen-Tosun, G. (1999). Specificity and subject-object positions/Scope interactions in Turkish. In the Proceedings of the Conference on Turkic Linguistics at Manchester University, 8-10 April 1999.

Can, C., Kilimci, A., & Altunkol, E. (2008). To Move or Not to Move: L2 Acquisition of English Syntactic Movement Parameter. In D. Gabryś-Barker (Ed.), Morphosyntactic Issues in Second Language Acquisition (pp. 132-142). Cromwell.

Canli, Z., & Canli, B. (2013). Keep Calm and Say Sorry!: The use of Apologies by EFL Teachers in Turkish and English. Educational Process: International Journal, 2(1-2), 36-46.

Cele, F., & Gurel, A. (2011). L2 acquisition of wh-extractions via a [-wh-movement] L1. 11th Generative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition, University of Washington, USA, 25-27 March 2011.

Choi, M. H. (2009). The acquisition of wh-in-situ constructions in second language acquisition (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Georgetown University, Washington DC.

Cook, V., & Newson, M. (1996). Chomsky's Universal Grammar: An introduction. Oxford: Blackwell.

Gass, S., & Selinker, L. (2008). Second Language Acquisition: An Introductory Course (3rd Edition). New York: Routledge/Taylor Francis.

Hawkins, R., & Chan, C. Y. (1997). The partial availability of Universal Grammar in second language acquisition: The ‘failed functional features hypothesis’. Second Language Research, 13(3), 187-226.

Hu, X., & Liu, C. (2007). Restrictive relative clauses in English and Korean learners’ second language Chinese. Second Language Research, 23(3), 263-287.

Juffs, A., & Harrington, M. (1995). Parsing effects in second language sentence processing: Subject and object asymmetries in wh-extraction. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 17, 483-516.

Kalayci, S. (2012). “A Journey to Bilingualism” A Case Study of German-Turkish Bilingual Family. Educational Process: International Journal, 1(1-2), 29-38.

Kalayci, S., & Humiston, K. R. (2015). Students’ Attitudes Towards Collaborative Tools In A Virtual Learning Environment. Educational Process: International Journal, 4(1-2), 71-86.

Kartal, S. E., Kocabas, I. (2014). An Alternative Educational System Based on the Opinions of Educational Stakeholders: Home Schools. Üniversitepark Bülten, 3(1-2), 56-69.

Larsen-Freeman, D., & Long, M. H. (1991). An introduction to second language acquisition research. London: Longman.

Prentza, A. I. (2012). Second language acquisition of complex structures: The case of English restrictive relative clauses. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 2(7), 1330-1340.

Rathert, S. (2012). Functions of Teacher and Student Code-Switching in an EFL Classroom and Pedagogical Focus: Observations and Implications. Educational Process: International Journal, 1(1-2), 7-18.

Rude, S. S., Wenzlaff, R. M., Gibbs, B., Vane, J., & Whitney, T. (2002). Negative processing biases predict subsequent depressive symptoms. Cognition and emotion, 16(3), 423-440.

Tremblay, A. (2005). Theoretical and methodological perspectives on the use of grammaticality judgment tasks in linguistic theory. Second Language Studies, 24(1), 129-167.

Uzun, N. E. (2000). Anaçizgileriyle Evrensel Dilbilgisi ve Türkçe. İstanbul: Multilingual.

Weissenborn, J., & Höhle, B. (Eds.) (1984). Approaches to Bootstrapping: Phonological, lexical, syntactic and neurophysiological aspects of early language acquisition. John Benjamins publishing.

Wenzlaff, R. M. (1988). Automatic information processing in depression. Paper presented at the international conference on self-control, NC: Nags Head.

Wenzlaff, R. M. (1993). The mental control of depression: Psychological obstacles to emotional well-being. In D. M. Wegner & J. W. Pennebaker (Eds.), Handbook of mental control (pp. 239-257). Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.

White, L. (1989). Universal Grammar and Second Language Acquisition. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Yılmaz, K. (2013). 10 soruda 4+4+4 eğitim sistemi. Üniversitepark Bülten, 2(2).



► New issue coming soon! (Volume 13 Issue 1, 2024)

Call for Papers

UNIBULLETIN is calling for submissions. Authors are invited to submit papers from the all fields of the Education (General) and Social Sciences (General) in the international context. All submissions should be presented only in English.