This article explores some of the ways in which linguistic typology and language-acquisition research have come together. It begins by discussing how cross-linguistically oriented language-acquisition research has come to share certain core attitudes and methodological preferences with the field of linguistic typology. There have been strong theoretical reasons to look for relationships between the structure of adult languages and children's language acquisition in both grammar and phonology. The article also provides the explanations for toddlers' semantic overextensions and underextensions of words and bound morphemes. The meanings children associate with temporal and spatial markers, and the role of syntactic–semantic linking in language acquisition are elaborated. Some additional intersections between semantic typology and first-language-acquisition research are explained, concentrating on issues of information packaging and lexicalization. The article then investigates two basic questions about first-language acquisition that intersect centrally with the concerns of linguistic typologists.
Fred R. Eckman
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.