Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 14. Number 2 June 2023                                             Pp.90-110

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The Role of Universal Grammar in Second Language: English Adjective Phrase by Saudi

Shatha E. Alanazi
Department of English, College of Science and Humanities, Prince Sattam bin Abdulaziz
University, Alkharj, Saudi Arabia

Haroon N. Alsager
Department of English, College of Science and Humanities, Prince Sattam bin Abdulaziz
University, Alkharj, Saudi Arabia
Correspondence Author:


Received:01/23/2023          Accepted:04/29/2023                  Published: 06/24/2023


English is the primary second language learned in Saudi Arabia. Many Saudi students are learning English as a second language for several reasons. Still, almost all English second language learners in Saudi Arabia are willing to learn English proficiently as English natives. Chomsky’s Universal Grammar is one of the primary theories that has discussed the idea of learning a second language. The primary purpose of this study is to develop an understanding of the role of Universal Grammar in second language acquisition by investigating how Saudi Learners of English use the English Adjective Phrase Structure. This research adopts the Full Transfer/Full Access Model as its model. This study used an online questionnaire method design and both quantitative and qualitative approaches to analyze data. This study assigned 118 participants from undergraduate students in Level Two and Level Five at English Language and Literature Department at Prince Sattam bin Abdul-Aziz University. The primary findings of this study indicate that native-like proficiency can be reached due to the fact there is full access to Universal Grammar when learning a second language. This study also found that Arabic as a first language plays a significant role in the beginning stages of learning English as a second language. Furthermore, the findings reveal that the effect of the first language on the second language can be overcome with more input the learner gets.
Keywords: Adjective phrase, Full Transfer/Full Access, Second Language Acquisition, Universal Grammar

Cite as:  Alanazi, S. E., &  Alsager, H.N. (2023). The Role of Universal Grammar in Second Language: English Adjective Phrase by Saudi Learners.  Arab World English Journal, 14 (2) 90-110.


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Received: 01/23/2023 
Accepted: 04/29/2023 
Published: 06/24/2023   

Dr. Haroon Alsager finished his PhD in linguistics from Arizona State University in 2017. His research interests include syntax, historical linguistics and computational linguistics. Currently, he is an associate professor in linguistics and applied linguistics at Prince Sattam Bin Abdulaziz University. ORCID: 

Shatha E. Alanazi has a Bachelor’s degree in English language from Sattam bin Abdulaziz University and a Master’s degree in linguistics from PSAU. Her research interests are syntax and language acquisition/learning.