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Gambling on UG: The Application of Monte Carlo Computer Simulation to the Analysis of L2 Reflexives

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This paper introduces two techniques, CD analysis and Monte Carlo simulation, for the graphical representation and statistical analysis of linguistic data. These techniques were developed in the context of L2 Universal Grammar (UG) research on the acquisition of reflexives in order to address two problems: the difficulty of applying traditional correlation measures to more than two data groups, and the limitations of statistical techniques when faced with small sample sizes. These previously unused tools within the research arena of applied linguistics were found to be flexible as well as easy to use and interpret. They also take advantage of recent advances in data-visualization software for the PC. By visualizing and analyzing the emergence of two or more linguistic properties in the interlanguage grammar, these techniques enable the researcher to address the question of whether or not multiple properties associated with one UG parameter or principle emerge in the interlanguage grammar in a manner or sequence consistent with those principles and parameters.
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Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, University of Delaware, Newark, DE, USA, 2: Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Delaware, Newark, DE, USA

Publication date: August 1, 1999

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