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The clustering effect in English as a foreign language: interlanguage representation, parametric theory and L2 formal studies

Grant number: 18/05860-1
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2018
Effective date (End): November 30, 2018
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Linguistics - Linguistic Theory and Analysis
Principal researcher:Marcello Marcelino Rosa
Grantee:Marcello Marcelino Rosa
Host: Laurel Elspeth Mackenzie
Home Institution: Escola de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (EFLCH). Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP). Campus Guarulhos. Guarulhos , SP, Brazil
Research place: New York University, United States  


The main objective of this project is to analyze the different theoretical hypotheses about the L2 acquisition process, with special emphasis on the clustering effect, within the Principles and Parameters Theory. The clustering effect as suggested by Chomsky (1981), Hyams (1986), and Snyder (1995) predicts that along with the setting of a specific parameter, a set of structures dependent on it becomes available for the learner. Marcelino (2007, 2014, and 2017) hypothesizes about the existence of a clustering effect in L2, which would account for Interlanguage structures that develop in the absence of formal instruction - a typical example of the Poverty of Stimulus argument. The clustering effect, however, has been disputed in light of the latest developments in the definition of a parameter, which ranges from the notion of a parameterized Principle to the point where it is defined as a set of features associated with the lexicon (Gallego, 2011). This project, therefore, seek s to: (a) establish the exchange of ideas with renowned scholars working from a formal language perspective, such as linguistic variation, parametric theory, acquisition and comparative language studies at New York University: Prof. Laurel MacKenzie, Prof. Gregory Guy, Prof. Richard Kayne, and Prof. Ailis Cournane; (b) synthesize the alternative proposals to the cluster approach to acquisition; (c) select articles that discuss the specific cluster issues to map out the state of the art; (d) prepare an account of the state-of-the-art developments in the Parametric Theory about the clustering effects to be published in a journal; (e) participate in two courses and events at NYU in the Fall'2018; (f) collect invaluable information about the Language Labs at NUY; and (g) articulate the newly found state-of-the-art theoretical account with current L2 formal studies in Brazil, specifically in the Graduate Program on Language and Cognition at the Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP).

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