The Use of Empty it as a Subject in Unaccusative Constructions by Spanish ESL learners
|Author||Landa Vázquez, Ana|
|Director||Tamayo Morillo, Francisco Javier|
|Document type||Final Degree Work|
|Academic Title||Universidad de Sevilla. Grado en Estudios Ingleses|
|Abstract||In this paper, I present my study of the International Corpus of Learner English
(ICLE) –Spanish Subcorpus- in which I have analyzed the use of empty it as a subject in
the English unaccusative constructions produced by ...
In this paper, I present my study of the International Corpus of Learner English (ICLE) –Spanish Subcorpus- in which I have analyzed the use of empty it as a subject in the English unaccusative constructions produced by Spanish ESL learners. As is well known, English only admits (generally) preverbal subjects; in contrast, Spanish admits both pre- and postverbal ones. That is the reason why Spanish ESL learners sometimes produce postverbal subjects when they use English. Within the context of this error, there are some ESL learners that include the pronoun it in the preverbal subject position, although it is not always the case and one never finds this phenomenon with certain verbs; for instance, it is rather normal to encounter examples like It disappeared a man but the opposite is true of cases like It sang a child, the normal erroneous version -if it occursbeing Sang a child. I analyze the ICLE corpus (Spanish subcorpus) in order to identify the structures where students use the empty it. Then, I separate the grammatical cases from the ungrammatical ones, and I focus my analysis on the ungrammatical constructions that contain it as a subject, using the distinction between unaccusative and unergative verbs. Finally, I apply Bolinger´s (1977:66-89) criteria about the meaningfulness of all types of it to the pronoun it that L2 speakers use with unaccusative verbs. The work is illustrated with examples taken from the main authors I use for each classification as well as by real examples of sentences taken from the Spanish ICLE subcorpus. Considering previous studies (e.g., Mendikoetxea & Lozano 2013, Bolinger 1977, among others) my initial hypothesis is as follows: (i) There will exist a wrong use of it as a subject with unaccusative verbs, but not with unergatives. (ii) The use of it is neither the unique result of any internal grammar that facilitates the acquisition of a language (Universal Grammar), nor L1 transference only or just the L2 input provided by the teacher. (iii) This it should have a meaning. The result of my analysis will show that (i) and (ii) are corroborated but (iii) is not.
|Cite||Landa Vázquez, A. (2015). The Use of Empty it as a Subject in Unaccusative Constructions by Spanish ESL learners. (Trabajo Fin de Grado Inédito). Universidad de Sevilla, Sevilla.|