Linguistic Typology and Second Language Acquisition

Fred R. Eckman

in The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Typology

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780199281251
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

Linguistic Typology and Second Language Acquisition

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  • Linguistics
  • Linguistic Typology
  • Language Acquisition



This article reviews some of the early work in second-language acquisition (SLA) that used typological universals to explain various aspects of learning difficulty and native-language transfer in adult second-language (L2) acquisition. It also addresses the construct of interlanguage. The findings of the research strand that seeks to explain why, in terms of typological universals, interlanguage grammars are the way they are are elaborated. Some suggestions about what appear to be fruitful avenues for future research are then given. The article turns first to earlier studies that employed typological markedness to explain learning difficulty and transfer in SLA. The three studies which have used the implicational generalizations underlying the Noun Phrase Accessibility Hierarchy as intervention strategies have shown that L2 learners will necessarily generalize from more marked structures to less marked structures, but not vice versa.

Keywords: second-language acquisition; learning difficulty; native-language transfer; interlanguage grammars; typological universals; typological markedness; Noun Phrase Accessibility

Article.  7070 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Linguistic Typology ; Language Acquisition

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