Second Language Acquisition of Pseudo-VP-Ellipsis and Gapping in Korean

Haerim Hwang 1 ,
Author Information & Copyright
1The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Corresponding Author: Assistant Professor Department of English The Chinese University of Hong Kong Fung King Hey, Room 325, Department of English, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, NT, Hong Kong E-mail:

ⓒ Copyright 2023 Language Education Institute, Seoul National University. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Received: Oct 30, 2023 ; Revised: Dec 14, 2023 ; Accepted: Dec 19, 2023

Published Online: Dec 31, 2023


Previous research shows that constructions involving missing material can pose a challenge in second language (L2) acquisition. Using Korean Pseudo- Verb-Phrase-Ellipsis and Gapping, this study examines whether L2 learners whose first language (L1) is Chinese manage to develop implicit knowledge of the two constructions' grammaticality in a conjunct clause and ungrammaticality in an adjunct clause. In the acceptability judgment task, our L2 learners as a group did not show target-like performance, but their judgment patterns revealed a proficiency effect, such that L2 learners with higher proficiency displayed target-like knowledge of the (un)grammaticality of Pseudo-Verb-Phrase-Ellipsis and Gapping in Korean, despite the absence of available sources of linguistic data (e.g., L1 transfer, negative evidence, explicit instructions). This study is significant in expanding the current body of research through its findings that support (higher-proficiency) L2 learners can acquire a complex structure that poses a challenge to them.

Keywords: Pseudo-Verb-Phrase-Ellipsis; Gapping; Korean; proficiency; second language acquisition



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