UG access in L2 acquisition: Reassessing the question Colloquium papers from the Second Language Research Forum 1998 October 15–18, 1998 at the University of Hawai‘i

Original Invitation to the Colloquium: At a special colloquium at SLRF/Los Angeles in 1989, participants examined the so-called access question: Is Universal Grammar accessible to the (adult) L2 learner? Given that nearly ten years have passed since that colloquium, and given that we have, in that time, learned a good deal more about the nature of the human language faculty, it seems like a good time to reexamine the assumptions that went into the original UG-access research of the 1980s. In particular, then, questions that participants at the present colloquium might consider include (at least) the following: Is the original access question a reasonable one to ask at the present time? Does the current state of linguistic theory, our current understanding of the human language potential, warrant the original question? If not, how should the question be reformulated? How would such a reformulation affect our understanding of previous research, as well as any future attempts at falsification of a reformulated question? After the colloquium, several members of the audience asked whether we had taped or videotaped the session. In fact, the idea had never dawned on any of us. In the days after the conference, we then discussed the feasibility of making the papers available as unpublished manuscripts on the web. Of course, because the manuscripts do not include the Q&A discussions that followed each and every presentation, making the papers web-accessible will not substitute entirely. Nevertheless, we hope that the papers will at least stimulate further discussion of the issues. Indeed, if you have questions of your own, you are certainly welcome to e-mail any of us.

Tagged as 1996-1999 research