Recent advances in a generative theory of Universal Grammar (UG) (Chomsky, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1986a, 1986b) have opened up exciting new perspectives on the problem of language acquisition and led to explosive developments in the field of first language (L1) acquisition research (Baker and McCarthy, 1981; Berwick and Weinberg, 1984; Borer and Wexler, to appear; Hyams, 1983; Lust, 1983, 1986; Manzini and Wexler, to appear; Otsu, 1981; Padilla-Rivera, 1985; Pinker, 1984, Roeper, 1981, 1986; Solan, 1983; Wexler and Chien, to appear; among others). While these advances have raised the possibility of significant developments in second language (L2) acquisition, serious use of generative theory applications to the study of L2 learning is still relatively new and underdeveloped (Felix, to appear; Flynn, 1981, 1983a, to appear a, to appear c; Haegeman, 1985; Liceras, 1981, 1983; Mazurkewich, 1984a, 1984b; Muysken and Clahsen, 1985; Sharwood-Smith, 1985; White, 1983, 1985a). This is an unfortunate state of affairs. Development of the study of adult L2 acquisition within a UG framework holds out many exciting possibilities. Its study may provide us with answers to previously unanswered questions about L2 acquisition. For example, it may explain how and why L2 acquisition appears to be both a contrastive and a constructive learning process.
KeywordsLanguage Learning Language Acquisition Contrastive Analysis Language Faculty Universal Grammar
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