It was about one and a half years ago that I finally I arrived where I had always wanted to be and do what I had always wanted-- teach students, support small language communities and conduct research on African languages on my doorstep. The University of Cape Town and my new colleagues welcomed my efforts to establish the Centre for African Language Diversity-- CALDi as well as The African Language Archive-- TALA and I was recently appointed the Mellon Research Chair: African Language Diversity this initiative. The main aim of CALDi is to train young African scholars in descriptive linguistics and open up space for research into African languages at UCT with the hopes of countering the dominance of African linguistics outside the continent. It has been a great challenge for which my whole career has been a form of preparation...Read more
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The Second Language Acquisition of Spanish Gender Agreement
This study examines gender agreement between a complex sentential subject
(containing two nouns) and a predicate adjective in second language
Spanish. The data were collected using a computerized sentence completion
task that measured gender agreement accuracy (correct or incorrect). Seven
binary linguistic variables were analyzed: noun class of the head and
attractor nouns (semantic or non-semantic), head noun morphology (overt or
non-overt), gender of the head and attractor nouns (feminine or masculine),
and noun class and gender congruencies (matched or mismatched). All
possible combinations of the variables were considered.
To date, no study has examined all of these variables in a single
experimental design assessing the second language acquisition of Spanish
gender agreement. Participants were learners at three different levels of
proficiency, and Spanish native speakers. Grammar and vocabulary knowledge
were also examined as independent variables. Findings reveal that noun
class does not affect accuracy of gender agreement. In contrast, both
learners and native speakers are sensitive to the gender and morphology of
the head noun, and gender congruency: participants were more accurate when
the head noun was masculine and overtly marked for gender, and when the two
subject nouns were of the same gender.