Markedness pp 309-327 | Cite as

Markedness and Parameter Setting: Some Implications for a Theory of Adult Second Language Acquisition

  • Lydia White


The concept of markedness has traditionally been invoked to try to provide a description and explanation of aspects of language that are are felt to be ‘unnatural’, infrequent, complex or lacking generality. In the field of first language acquisition, it is usually assumed that marked forms or structures, however defined, are harder to learn and are acquired after unmarked (e.g. Chomsky 1969; Clark 1970; Kiparsky 1974; Phinney 1981). Markedness has also been used to predict or explain certain difficulties that second language learners experience (Eckman 1977), as well as the order in which they acquire certain constructions, with unmarked preceding marked (hyltenstam 1982; Rutherford 1982, Mazurkewich 1984a).


Native Speaker Language Learner Relative Clause Mother Tongue Language Acquisition 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lydia White
    • 1
  1. 1.McGill UniversityCanada

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