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Letter Writing and Language Change

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Academic Paper


Title: On the (un)-ambiguity of Adjectival Modification in Spanish Determiner Phrases
Author: Jason Rothman
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: http://www.uiowa.edu/~slalab/
Institution: University of Reading
Author: Tiffany Judy
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: University of Florida
Author: Pedro Guijarro-Fuentes
Institution: University of Plymouth
Author: Acrisio M. Pires
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: http://www.lsa.umich.edu/ling/people/Acrisio_Pires.htm
Institution: University of Michigan
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition
Subject Language: English
Spanish
Abstract: This study contributes to a central debate within contemporary generative second language (L2) theorizing: the extent to which adult learners are (un)able to acquire new functional features that result in a L2 grammar that is mentally structured like the native target (see White, 2003). The adult acquisition of L2 nominal phi-features is explored, with focus on the syntactic and semantic reflexes in the related domain of adjective placement in two experimental groups: English-speaking intermediate (n = 21) and advanced (n = 24) learners of Spanish, as compared to a native-speaker control group (n = 15). Results show that, on some of the tasks, the intermediate L2 learners appear to have acquired the syntactic properties of the Spanish determiner phrase but, on other tasks, to show some delay with the semantic reflexes of prenominal and postnominal adjectives. Crucially, however, our data demonstrate full convergence by all advanced learners and thus provide evidence in contra the predictions of representational deficit accounts (e.g., Hawkins & Chan, 1997; Hawkins & Franceschina, 2004; Hawkins & Hattori, 2006).

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN Studies in Second Language Acquisition Vol. 32, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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