Cognitive Theory of Markedness and Native Language Transfer

Liang Deng


In the process of second language acquisition (SLA), such phenomena as some linguistic knowledge in the target language is much easier to acquire than others in SLA and some linguistic knowledge in native language is apt to be transferred are prevailing. To account for these phenomena, markedness theory is introduced and attempts to provide a plausible explanation. In particular, cognitive theory of markedness, or rather, prototypicality has proven to be effective and powerful in predicting the transferability of native language. This paper tries to offer a brief introduction of markedness theory and its recent development, prototypicality and conduct a review on related achievements gained in the studies of native language transfer in SLA. At the same time, shortcomings of current researches as well as prospect of future researches in this field will be pointed out.

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