Distribution of Prodrop Syntactic Properties in L2 English of Persian Speakers

Document Type: Research Article

Authors

1 Sheikhbahaee University

2 University of Isfahan

Abstract

This study set out to investigate the distribution of the syntactic properties associated
with the prodrop parameter by Persian-speaking L2 learners of English in an attempt
to examine the (un)attainability of native-like knowledge and (in)accessibility of UG
in adult SLA. To do so, 92 participants were assigned into different levels of L2
knowledge based on their performances on the Oxford Placement Test (2001). A
grammaticality judgment test and a translation test were developed and validated in
this study. Analysis of the results indicated the following hierarchy of difficulty:
referential subjects > expletives > verb-subject constraint > quasi subjects > thattrace
constraint. Findings evidence that native-like attainment of unselected L2
syntactic features is unlikely at advanced stages, but it is logically possible that
Persian-speaking L2 learners of English attain native-like knowledge of [-prodrop]
at very advanced or near-native stages of L2 acquisition.

Keywords