Sujeewa Hettiarachchi and Acrisio Pires.
2015. Proceedings of the 6th GALANAlGenerative Approaches to Language Acquisition North America. University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland.
This paper presents an experimental study to re-evaluate the Feature Interpretability Hypothesis (see Hawkins & Hattori, 2006; Tsimpli & Dimitrakopoulou, 2007; Tsimpli & Mastropavlou, 2007), a theory of learnability in adult Second Language Acquisition (SLA) that has received a substantial amount of attention in SLA research. This paper re-evaluates the predictive and explanatory power of the Interpretability Hypothesis regarding the acquisition of wh-questions and corresponding locality constraints (Subjacency and Superiority) by Sinhala Native Speakers acquiring L2 English. The experimental results that we present here clearly reveal, contra predictions of RD accounts, that advanced L2 speakers show sensitivity to the Subjacency constraint that governs the syntax and interpretation of English wh-questions with overt wh-movement.