AbstractsLanguage, Literature & Linguistics

The Acquisition of Norwegian Object Shift by Ln learners

by Jelena Didriksen

Institution: Universitetet i Tromsø
Year: 2016
Keywords: VDP::Humaniora: 000::Språkvitenskapelige fag: 010; VDP::Humanities: 000::Linguistics: 010; acquisition; Norwegian; object shift; Ln acquisiton; OS; word order; linguistics
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2134854
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10037/9734


This thesis investigates whether Ln learners of Norwegian at different stages in their acquisition are familiar with the phenomenon known as Object Shift (OS), which allows a pronominal object to move across negation in certain contexts. An object is only allowed to shift if it is an unstressed pronoun that refers back to a specific noun. Objects in the form of pronouns that refer back to a whole clause or in the form or full DPs do not undergo OS. I investigate how Ln learners accept Norwegian sentences with and without OS to see which word order they prefer and whether they make any distinctions based on the type of object in the sentence. Several studies in acquisition have shown that OS takes a long time to fully acquire for L1 Norwegian children (more than seven years). The children have been found to prefer the non-shifted word order despite it being the least frequent one, which has lead researchers to conclude that their preference was based on economy and complexity. Findings in this thesis indicate that the Ln learners of Norwegian also prefer the non-shifted word order, although most likely for different reasons than the children. I argue that the Ln learners do not receive enough input containing OS to deduct that certain types of pronouns can shift in Norwegian. Further, I suggest that the L1 of the Ln learners may be playing an important role in acquisition of OS, based on the fact that learners who have object movement in their L1s show a higher acceptance for shifted objects. Amount of proficiency is not found to contribute to a higher acceptance for shifted pronouns in this case. I predict that participants with higher proficiency are needed in order to see real progress in this area. Advisors/Committee Members: Westergaard, Marit (advisor).