A Processability Theory (PT) -based analysis of the acquisition of Japanese morphology and syntax: A case of an intensive adult learner

Document Type

Journal Article


The Japan Second Language Association


Faculty of Education and Arts


School of Communication and Arts / Centre for Research in Entertainment, Arts, Technology, Education and Communications




Iwasaki, J. (2013). A Processability Theory (PT) -based Analysis of the Acquisition of Japanese Morphology and Syntax: a Case of an Intensive Adult Learner. Second Language, 12, 21-42.


This paper reports the results of part of a longitudinal study that analyzes the acquisition process of Japanese as a second language (JSL) by an adult learning in an intensive mode in Australia. Specifically, the purpose of the study was to find out whether or not the emergence orders of morphological and syntactic structures in his speech data would parallel the universal hierarchy of developmental stages of acquisition claimed in Processability Theory (PT henceforth: Pienemann, 1998; Pienemann, DiBiase & Kawaguchi, 2005). The informant in this study was a 33 year old Australian male, who as a complete beginner, participated in an approximate 900 hour one-on-one Japanese language training over a period of one year. As part of the training, he was engaged in spontaneous conversations with native speakers of Japanese on a fortnightly basis, which were audio-recorded and transcribed. The verbal affixes, V -te V structures, passive/causative/benefactive structures, canonical sentences and non-canonical sentences that the informant had produced were then extracted and used for distributional analysis. The results of the study showed that the developmental sequences of acquisition of Japanese morphology and syntax in the informant's interlanguage matched those predicted in the original and extended versions ofPT.

This document is currently not available here.