We analyzed some earlier studies of English L1 and L2 morpheme orders, basing our analysis on current functional categories theory. Our analysis meets two long‐standing charges against morpheme order data; namely, that the heterogeneity of the morphemes does not yield up any insights into L2 acquisition and that the English language‐based orders lack generalizability. We suggest that the salient differences between the L1 and the L2 orders reduce to a number of simple contrasts. These involve (a) the category‐specific emergence of functional categories in L1 versus their cross‐category development in L2; (b) an L2 ordering hinging crucially on the lexical head versus inflectional head distinction in L2 and its absence in L1; (c) the at least coequal, or possibly even spearheading, role that inflections play vis‐à‐vis free functional categories in L1 versus the earlier and independent emergence of the latter in L2; and (d) the apparently greater difficulty that affix‐movement poses for L2 learners.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-1770.1994.tb01452.x
Journal Language Learning
Citation
Zobl, H, & Liceras, J. (Juana). (1994). Functional Categories and Acquisition Orders. Language Learning (Vol. 44, pp. 159–180). doi:10.1111/j.1467-1770.1994.tb01452.x