Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Samer Al Khatib

Subject Categories

Applied Linguistics | First and Second Language Acquisition | Semantics and Pragmatics | Syntax | Typological Linguistics and Linguistic Diversity


Generative Grammar, principles, parameters, functional categories, formal features, second language acquisition (SLA), initial state, transfer, age effects, Critical Period Hypothesis (CPH).


This paper concerns the acquisition process of a specific part of English grammar by native speakers of Albanian. The focus is the English present perfect, and the similarities and differences that it bears to the Albanian Compound Perfective. The two constructions are made from similar parts, but they crucially differ in the aspectual nature of their participles. While the Albanian particle is perfective, the English is underspecified. We argue that the process of the acquisition of the PP by Albanian bilinguals is one where input, analogy, and direct grammar teaching do not suffice. We apply Generative Grammar logic to the acquisition puzzle and devise an experiment to ascertain our findings. The experiment shows that the acquisition of the PP by Albanian (L1) speakers is almost unrestricted. We reason that such results are partially possible because of structural hints that are supplied by adverbs in the syntax/semantic interface. In conclusion, we argue that such indirect learning can be achieved by positing parameters as modules that organize input, or through clustering of similar forms.