Case morphology and word order in L2 Turkish: Evidence from Greek learners


Papadopoulou, Despina, Spyridoula Varlokosta, Vassilios Spyropoulos, Hasan Kaili, Sophia Prokou, and Anthi Revithiadou. 2011. Case morphology and word order in L2 Turkish: Evidence from Greek learners. Second Language Research 27, no. 2: 173-205.


The optional use of morphology attested in second language learners has been attributed either to a representational deficit or to a ‘surface’ problem with respect to the realization of inflectional affixes. In this article we contribute to this issue by providing empirical data from the early interlanguage of Greek learners of Turkish. Three experiments have been conducted, a cloze task, a sentence picture matching task and an on-line grammaticality judgement task, in order to investigate case morphology and its interaction with word order constraints.The findings of all three experiments point towards a variable use of case morphology, which is also observed in previous studies of Turkish as a second language (L2). Moreover, they show clearly that the learners face difficulties with non-canonical word orders as well as with the interaction of word order constraints and Case. On the other hand, the learners performed well on verbal inflections. On the basis of these findings, we argue that the developmental patterns in the early stages of L2 acquisition cannot be attributed to a global lack of functional categories but rather to more localized difficulties, which seem to be related to (a) whether the features in the L2 are grammaticalized in the first language and (b) the way these features are encoded in the morphosyntax of the first language. Moreover, we claim that processing factors and the specific properties of the morphological paradigms affect L2 development.