The Effect of Second Language Instruction on Acquisition of Relative Clauses in the Russian Language The Effect of Second Language Instruction on Acquisition of Relative Clauses in the Russian Language
Hierarchy (AH) theory (Keenan & Comrie, 1977) applying it to the Russian language.
According to this theory, relative clauses (RC) are acquired in a fixed unidirectional
order: from subject (S) â€“ the highest (unmarked) and more susceptible to relativization
position â€“ to object of comparative (OCOM) â€“ the lowest (marked) and less susceptible
to relativization position. Since some researchers (Hamilton, 1994) claim that the AH is
multidirectional rather than unidirectional, this study takes into consideration these
findings as well. The present study attempts to determine (a) if learners of the Russian
language are able to make generalizations about more unmarked RC positions after
receiving instruction only on a relatively marked relative clause position (in this study it
is OPR â€“ object of a preposition), and (b) if instruction on unmarked relative clause
position facilitates learnersâ€™ ability to generalize that learning to marked relative clauses.
Participants of the study were Brigham Young University students studying
Russian as a second language. Two groups, the basic treatment group (BG) and the
complex treatment group (CG) with a total of fifty-four subjects, completed pretests and
posttests, each of which included two elicitation tasks: a combination test (CT) and a
grammaticality judgment test (GJT). Both groups received instruction between the tests.
The BG received instruction on the subject (S), the direct object (DO), and the indirect
object (IO) RC positions. The CG received instruction only on the OPR position. Three
types of error, incorrect adjacency, incorrect morphological RC ending, and pronoun
retention, were analyzed separately. In addition, the CT investigated the acquisition of
pied-piping structure in the OPR and GEN types. The results of the research support
Hamiltonâ€™s (1994) findings and suggest that generalization is clearly not unidirectional.
Regardless of type of instruction the subjects of both groups generalized their learning in
School:Brigham Young University
School Location:USA - Utah
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:language acquisition the russian accessibility hierarchy relative clauses
Date of Publication:06/15/2007