Transfer and Universal Grammar in Unaccusative Constructions Errors


  • Marciano Escutia Universidad Complutense de Madrid



developmental errors, unaccusative predicates, expletive pronouns, language transfer, Universal Grammar


Common errors are examined in subject expletive pronouns use with unaccusative predicates in the written production of Spanish high-intermediate adult students of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) in an institutional setting. What these errors have in common is that they do not respond to L1 surface transfer in the sense of not corresponding to a mere L2 relexification of L1 syntax. They rather involve a process of construction of the L2 grammar which results in structures different from both the L1 and the L2. It is suggested and argued that they originate in the interaction of Universal Grammar principles and both L1 and L2 influence in a restructuring process of the L1. As these errors seem to be developmental - since they are also made by L2 students from other L1s, some cognitive strategies are suggested in order to help in the production of standard surface structures. 


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How to Cite

Escutia, M. (2008). Transfer and Universal Grammar in Unaccusative Constructions Errors. Miscelánea: A Journal of English and American Studies, 37, 23–38.



ARTICLES: Language and linguistics