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Languages, Volume 2, Issue 4 (December 2017)

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Open AccessEditorial Introducing the Special Issue: Bilingualism in the Hispanic and Lusophone World
Received: 13 December 2017 / Revised: 21 December 2017 / Accepted: 22 December 2017 / Published: 22 December 2017
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Abstract
This Special Issue of Languages includes nine selected and peer‐reviewed papers from the second meeting of Bilingualism in the Hispanic and Lusophone World (BHL), an international conference that took place at Florida State University, in Tallahassee, Florida, USA, in January 2017 [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bilingualism in the Hispanic and Lusophone World)
Open AccessArticle The Role of Input Factors in the Lexical Development of European Portuguese as a Heritage Language in Portuguese–German Bilingual Speakers
Received: 28 July 2017 / Revised: 2 December 2017 / Accepted: 7 December 2017 / Published: 21 December 2017
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Abstract
In light of previous research on early bilingualism, this study investigates whether 6–11-year-old child heritage speakers (HSs) of European Portuguese (EP), living in Germany, show patterns of lexical development similar to those of monolingual EP children, both in terms of vocabulary size and
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In light of previous research on early bilingualism, this study investigates whether 6–11-year-old child heritage speakers (HSs) of European Portuguese (EP), living in Germany, show patterns of lexical development similar to those of monolingual EP children, both in terms of vocabulary size and of lexical composition. Moreover, it assesses the role of factors related to the quantity and quality of the input in the HSs’ lexical development in EP. Twenty-three bilingual and 21 monolingual children were tested on a semi-spontaneous oral production task. The collected data were used to build a corpus composed of three subcorpora (nouns, verbs, adjectives), which served as a basis for between- and within-group comparisons. Information regarding the HSs’ language experience was collected by means of a parental questionnaire. Results revealed significant between-group differences concerning the total corpus and the subcorpora of nouns and verbs. Within-group comparisons showed that both groups produced significantly more nouns than verbs and more verbs than adjectives. Correlation analyses revealed that the HSs’ lexical knowledge is significantly correlated with the input and output quantity at home as well as with the number of EP-speaking parents. Parents emerge as the key players in the acquisition of EP as a heritage language. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bilingualism in the Hispanic and Lusophone World)
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Open AccessArticle The Effects of Code-Switching and Lexical Stress on Vowel Quality and Duration of Heritage Speakers of Spanish
Received: 30 June 2017 / Revised: 1 December 2017 / Accepted: 12 December 2017 / Published: 21 December 2017
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Abstract
The quantity of research on Heritage Speakers (HS) of Spanish phonetics has increased over the last decade, including studies on the possible effect of code-switching on Spanish phonetics. Following this line of research, the present study investigates the role of code-switching and lexical
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The quantity of research on Heritage Speakers (HS) of Spanish phonetics has increased over the last decade, including studies on the possible effect of code-switching on Spanish phonetics. Following this line of research, the present study investigates the role of code-switching and lexical stress on Spanish HS vowel production, specifically if the introduction of English reduces the vowel quality and duration of Spanish vowels after a code-switch. Eleven Spanish HSs participated in a controlled narration task in which they were asked to read aloud texts that code-switched between English and Spanish and one text that only contained Spanish. PRAAT was used to segment the vowels and the F1 and F2 values, along with duration, were extracted. The results show that both code-switching and lexical stress significantly affect Spanish HS vowels. Code-switching and vowels in unstressed position were more centralized than the vowels in the monolingual Spanish session and vowels in stressed position, respectively; unstressed vowels were also shorter in duration than stressed vowels. These results show that the introduction of English—a language in which vowel quality and duration change between unstressed and stressed syllables—via code-switching significantly affects Spanish HS vowels, subsequently providing evidence for transient interference. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bilingualism in the Hispanic and Lusophone World)
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Open AccessEditorial Introducing the Special Issue: Clausal and Nominal Complements in Monolingual and Bilingual Grammars
Received: 18 December 2017 / Revised: 21 December 2017 / Accepted: 21 December 2017 / Published: 21 December 2017
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Abstract
To introduce this Special Issue entitled Clausal and Nominal Complements in Monolingual and Bilingual Grammars, we begin by explaining what originally motivated this Special Issue [...]
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Clausal and Nominal Complements in Monolingual and Bilingual Grammars)
Open AccessArticle A Comparison of the Grammatical Production of Child Heritage Speakers of Spanish across Language and Grade: Kindergarten and Grade 1
Received: 28 June 2017 / Revised: 27 November 2017 / Accepted: 27 November 2017 / Published: 13 December 2017
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Abstract
In this study, we elicited grammatical forms (oral production) from a group of child heritage speakers of Spanish (N = 45) in English and Spanish, using the morphosyntax subtest of the Bilingual English–Spanish Assessment (BESA), (Peña et al. 2014). A cross-sectional design
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In this study, we elicited grammatical forms (oral production) from a group of child heritage speakers of Spanish (N = 45) in English and Spanish, using the morphosyntax subtest of the Bilingual English–Spanish Assessment (BESA), (Peña et al. 2014). A cross-sectional design was used with 25 participants in kindergarten and 20 in first grade. All children spoke Spanish at home and attended English rural schools. We controlled for L2 class environment and socio-economic status. Research findings indicated children produced more target structures in L1 Spanish. This project supports the view that sequential bilingualism and continuous exposure to the heritage language may assist heritage speakers to maintain some L1 structures (Miller and Cuza 2013; Pascual y Cabo and Gómez Soler 2015). Patterns of L2 development are also addressed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bilingualism in the Hispanic and Lusophone World)
Open AccessArticle Sibilant Merger in the Variety of Basque Spoken in Amorebieta-Etxano
Received: 30 June 2017 / Revised: 7 November 2017 / Accepted: 4 December 2017 / Published: 5 December 2017
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Abstract
Basque has an apico-alveolar /s̺/, a lamino-alveolar /s̻/, and a prepalatal sibilant /ʃ/ that are represented by the letters <s>, <z>, and <x>, respectively. The apico-alveolar and the lamino-alveolar sibilants have merged in some areas of Biscay, Guipuzcoa, and the Basque-speaking territories of
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Basque has an apico-alveolar /s̺/, a lamino-alveolar /s̻/, and a prepalatal sibilant /ʃ/ that are represented by the letters <s>, <z>, and <x>, respectively. The apico-alveolar and the lamino-alveolar sibilants have merged in some areas of Biscay, Guipuzcoa, and the Basque-speaking territories of Alava (e.g., Hualde 2010), and Spanish has been hypothesized as a factor driving this merger (Jurado Noriega 2011). On the other hand, complex sibilant systems like the traditional Basque one tend to be neutralized independently of language contact (Bukmaier et al. 2014). In order to add to this debate and shed new light on the merger, this study explored Biscayan Basque, a variety at an advanced state of the merger (Hualde 2010). More precisely, the study tested how the degree of bilingualism affects the production of the sibilants under study and the resulting neutralization by performing an acoustic analysis of the data. The results show that Basque- and Spanish-dominant speakers behave differently with regard to the sibilant merger, and that they have different places of articulation for their sibilants. Only Basque-dominant speakers maintain a significant distinction in the place of articulation of <z> and <x> overall, whereas Spanish-dominant speakers do not make a distinction among sibilants. Furthermore, the resulting merged sibilant is less fronted for Spanish-dominant speakers than the sibilants of Basque-dominant speakers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bilingualism in the Hispanic and Lusophone World)
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Open AccessArticle Indian English Evolution and Focusing Visible Through Power Laws
Received: 19 August 2017 / Revised: 1 November 2017 / Accepted: 20 November 2017 / Published: 24 November 2017
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Abstract
New dialect emergence and focusing in language contact settings is difficult to capture and date in terms of global structural dialect stabilization. This paper explores whether diachronic power law frequency distributions can provide evidence of dialect evolution and new dialect focusing, by considering
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New dialect emergence and focusing in language contact settings is difficult to capture and date in terms of global structural dialect stabilization. This paper explores whether diachronic power law frequency distributions can provide evidence of dialect evolution and new dialect focusing, by considering the quantitative frequency characteristics of three diachronic Indian English (IE) corpora (1970s–2008). The results demonstrate that IE consistently follows power law frequency distributions and the corpora are each best fit by Mandelbrot’s Law. Diachronic changes in the constants are interpreted as evidence of lexical and syntactic collocational focusing within the process of new dialect formation. Evidence of new dialect focusing is also visible through apparent time comparison of spoken and written data. Age and gender-separated sub-corpora of the most recent corpus show minimal deviation, providing apparent time evidence for emerging IE dialect stability. From these findings, we extend the interpretation of diachronic changes in the β coefficient—as indicative of changes in the degree of synthetic/analytic structure—so that β is also sensitive to grammaticalization and changes in collocational patterns. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Syntactic Variation in Diminutive Suffixes: Russian, Kolyma Yukaghir, and Itelmen
Received: 5 July 2017 / Revised: 20 October 2017 / Accepted: 27 October 2017 / Published: 17 November 2017
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Abstract
This article presents a syntactic analysis and comparison of diminutive suffixes in Russian, Kolyma Yukaghir, and Itelmen, three genetically unrelated languages of the Russian Federation. Kolyma Yukaghir and Itelmen are on the verge of extinction. This article investigates how contact with Russian (specifically
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This article presents a syntactic analysis and comparison of diminutive suffixes in Russian, Kolyma Yukaghir, and Itelmen, three genetically unrelated languages of the Russian Federation. Kolyma Yukaghir and Itelmen are on the verge of extinction. This article investigates how contact with Russian (specifically the syntax of Russian diminutives) has influenced the syntax of diminutives in Kolyma Yukaghir and Itlemen. Adopting the framework of Distributed Morphology, a syntactic analysis of diminutives across the three languages reveals that they share the same manner of syntactic attachment, but differ in regards to the site or place of attachment. Specifically, it is proposed that diminutives in all three languages are syntactic modifiers; however, in relation to the place of attachment, in Russian, diminutives attach below the functional category of Number, while diminutives in Kolyma Yukaghir and Itelmen attach above the Number category. This article contributes to our understanding of variation in universal grammar and linguistic outcomes of the syntactic feature ‘diminutive’ in a multilingual situation where a majority language is in contact with two genetically unrelated endangered languages. Full article
Open AccessArticle Cross-Linguistic Orthographic Effects in Late Spanish/English Bilinguals
Received: 1 August 2017 / Revised: 29 October 2017 / Accepted: 31 October 2017 / Published: 14 November 2017
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Abstract
Through the use of the visual world paradigm and eye tracking, we investigate how orthographic–phonological mappings in bilinguals promote interference during spoken language comprehension. Eighteen English-dominant bilinguals and 13 Spanish-dominant bilinguals viewed 4-picture visual displays while listening to Spanish-only auditory sentences (e.g., El
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Through the use of the visual world paradigm and eye tracking, we investigate how orthographic–phonological mappings in bilinguals promote interference during spoken language comprehension. Eighteen English-dominant bilinguals and 13 Spanish-dominant bilinguals viewed 4-picture visual displays while listening to Spanish-only auditory sentences (e.g., El detective busca su banco ‘The detective is looking for his bench’) in order to select a target image. Stimuli included two types of trials that represent potential conflict in bilinguals: b-v trials, e.g., banco-vaso ‘bench-glass’, representing homophonous phonemes with distinct graphemic representations in Spanish, and j-h trials, e.g., juego-huevo ‘game-egg’, representing interlingual homophonous phonemes with distinct graphemic representations. Data were collected on accuracy, reaction time (RT), and mean proportion of target fixation. Reaction Time results indicate that Spanish-dominant speakers were slower when the competitor was present in b-v trials, though no effects were observed for English-dominant speakers. Eye-tracking results indicate a lack of competition effects in either set of trials for English-dominant speakers, but lower proportional target fixations for Spanish-dominant speakers in both sets of trials when an orthographic/phonological distractor was present. These results suggest that Spanish-dominant bilinguals may be influenced by the orthographic mappings of their less-dominant L2 English, providing new insight into the nature of the interaction between the orthography and phonology in bilingual speakers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bilingualism in the Hispanic and Lusophone World)
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Open AccessArticle Are Lions Green?: Child L2 Learners’ Interpretation of English Generics and Definite Determiners
Received: 15 July 2017 / Revised: 19 October 2017 / Accepted: 25 October 2017 / Published: 31 October 2017
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Abstract
The aim of this small-scale study (22 participants) was to analyze how L1-Spanish L2-English children interpret English noun phrases (NPs) by taking into consideration two variables: children’s age and amount of input. These two variables were studied in relation to children’s developmental tendencies
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The aim of this small-scale study (22 participants) was to analyze how L1-Spanish L2-English children interpret English noun phrases (NPs) by taking into consideration two variables: children’s age and amount of input. These two variables were studied in relation to children’s developmental tendencies and language transfer. Children begin with an innate predisposition for the generic interpretation, which leads them to incorrectly interpret some specific NPs. In contrast, transfer from the L1 explains the incorrect mapping between NP and interpretation in adult L2 speakers. We examined 22 L1-Spanish L2-English children and a control group of L1-English children on their interpretation of English NPs through an online task. Results revealed that L2 children’s interpretations significantly differ from the interpretations of the control group. We propose that like L1 children, child L2 learners will have to overcome their natural predisposition to interpret NPs as generic. However, child L2 learners must also overcome transfer effects from their L1. Additionally, results seem to suggest that the amount of input plays a role in learners’ interpretations. We propose that children who receive similar amounts of input in their two languages become aware of the differences faster, particularly in the forms where there is no overlapping between the languages (i.e., bare NPs). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bilingualism in the Hispanic and Lusophone World)
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Open AccessArticle On the Acceptability and Use of -ra and -se in Conditional Phrases in Galician Spanish
Received: 22 July 2017 / Revised: 26 September 2017 / Accepted: 4 October 2017 / Published: 13 October 2017
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Abstract
The verb forms ending in -ra and -se in modern Spanish both correspond to the imperfect subjunctive, but their use is far from equal throughout the Spanish-speaking world. Rojo (1996) documents that the -se form is all but obsolete in
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The verb forms ending in -ra and -se in modern Spanish both correspond to the imperfect subjunctive, but their use is far from equal throughout the Spanish-speaking world. Rojo (1996) documents that the -se form is all but obsolete in the majority of American nations, and Kempas (2011) records rates of use in Spain ranging from 11% to 44%. The highest rate corresponds to usage patterns in Galicia, where contact with the regional language, Galician, may provide a conservative influence with respect to the shift from -se to -ra. The present study considers the effects of age, sex, and primary language, as well as linguistic factors such as possibility of the event (i.e., Lavandera (1975)) on the acceptability and choice of -se or -ra in the protasis of conditional statements in Galician Spanish. To accomplish this, 29 speakers completed an online acceptability rating task of 24 statements with varying combinations of verb forms in the protasis and apodosis. They were asked to correct those statements that they rejected as incorrect and unused in their own speech, and their produced corrections were compared to their acceptance or rejection of forms in the models. Results indicated that neither social factors nor possibility significantly affect the acceptance of phrases in -ra or -se. However, individual idiosyncrasies do affect the production of these verb forms, in line with results from Kempas (2011) and Rojo and Vázquez Rozas (2014). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bilingualism in the Hispanic and Lusophone World)
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Open AccessArticle Determiner Asymmetry in Mixed Nominal Constructions: The Role of Grammatical Factors in Data from Miami and Nicaragua
Received: 28 February 2017 / Revised: 5 September 2017 / Accepted: 12 September 2017 / Published: 6 October 2017
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Abstract
This paper focuses on the factors influencing the language of determiners in nominal constructions in two sets of bilingual data: Spanish/English from Miami and Spanish/English creole from Nicaragua. Previous studies (Liceras et al. 2008; Moro Quintanilla 2014) have argued that Spanish determiners are
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This paper focuses on the factors influencing the language of determiners in nominal constructions in two sets of bilingual data: Spanish/English from Miami and Spanish/English creole from Nicaragua. Previous studies (Liceras et al. 2008; Moro Quintanilla 2014) have argued that Spanish determiners are preferred in mixed nominal constructions because of their grammaticised nature. However, those studies did not take the matrix language into account, even though Herring et al. (2010) found that the language of the determiner matched the matrix language. Therefore, we hypothesise that the matrix language is the main influence on the language of the determiner in both mixed and unmixed nominal constructions. The results are consistent with our hypothesis that the matrix language of the clause provides the language of the determiner in mixed and unmixed Determiner Phrases (DPs). Once the matrix language is controlled for, the Miami data show a greater tendency for Spanish determiners to appear in mixed DPs than English determiners. However, in the Nicaragua data, we found only mixed DPs with an English creole determiner. This suggests that bilingual communities do not always follow the same pattern, and that social rather than grammatical factors may be at play. We conclude that while the language of the determiner is influenced by clause-internal structure, that of its noun complement and the matrix language itself depends on extralinguistic considerations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Clausal and Nominal Complements in Monolingual and Bilingual Grammars)
Open AccessArticle Improving Motivation to Learn English in Japan with a Self-Study Shadowing Application
Received: 28 February 2017 / Revised: 21 August 2017 / Accepted: 29 August 2017 / Published: 27 September 2017
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Abstract
The scarcity of opportunities to communicate in English in Japan proves a challenge for learners, as significant improvements in English as a Foreign Language) (EFL) listening and speaking will not materialize without consistent practice and a motivation to study. Furthermore, analysis of standardized
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The scarcity of opportunities to communicate in English in Japan proves a challenge for learners, as significant improvements in English as a Foreign Language) (EFL) listening and speaking will not materialize without consistent practice and a motivation to study. Furthermore, analysis of standardized test scores shows that university students’ scores tend to decrease after their first year of study (Sumida 2015; Mikada 2016). In order to overcome these difficulties, a team of teachers at a university in Japan introduced a mobile-assisted language learning (MALL) shadowing application where students can train their ears while also practicing speaking with shadowing, a technique recognized as effective for improving speaking and listening (Kadota 2014; Hamada 2016). This paper describes the introduction of this application in general education English classes. It then considers its impact on the motivation, attitudes towards communicating orally in English, and perception of English ability of 1001 first-year university students, the majority science and engineering majors, who used it over one semester. Preliminary results of a pre- and post-intervention Likert questionnaire indicate that through this system, linguistic self-confidence, interest in English, ideal L2 self, attitudes towards communicating in the L2, and perceptions of English ability were potentially enhanced. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue MOBILizing Language Learning in the 21st Century)
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Open AccessArticle A View of the CP/DP-(non)parallelism from the Cartographic Perspective
Received: 1 February 2017 / Revised: 16 August 2017 / Accepted: 21 August 2017 / Published: 21 September 2017
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Abstract
The aim of this paper is to reconsider some aspects of the so-called clause/noun-phrase (non-)parallelism (Abney 1987 and much subsequent work). The question that arises is to find out what is common and what is different between the clause as a Complementizer Phrase
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The aim of this paper is to reconsider some aspects of the so-called clause/noun-phrase (non-)parallelism (Abney 1987 and much subsequent work). The question that arises is to find out what is common and what is different between the clause as a Complementizer Phrase (CP)-structure and the noun as a Determiner Phrase (DP)-structure in terms of structure and derivation. An example of structural parallelism lies in the division of the clause and the noun phrase into three domains: (i) the Nachfeld (right periphery), which is the thematic domain; (ii) the Mittelfeld (midfield), which is the inflection, agreement, Case and modification domain and (iii) the Vorfeld (left periphery), which is the discourse- and operator-related domain. However, we will show following Giusti (2002, 2006), Payne (1993), Bruening (2009), Cinque (2011), Laenzlinger (2011, 2015) among others that the inner structure of the Vorfeld and of the Mittelfeld of the clause is not strictly parallel to that of the noun phrase. Although derivational parallelism also lies in the possible types of movement occurring in the CP and DP domains (short head/X-movement, simple XP-movement, remnant XP-movement and pied-piping XP-movement), we will see that there is non-parallelism in the application of these sorts of movement within the clause and the noun phrase. In addition, we will test the respective orders among adverbs/adjectives, DP/Prepositional Phrase (PP)-arguments and DP/PP-adjuncts in the Mittelfeld of the clause/noun phrase and show that Cinque’s (2013) left–right asymmetry holds crosslinguistically for the possible neutral order (without focus effects) in post-verbal/nominal positions with respect to the prenominal/preverbal base order and its impossible reverse order. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Clausal and Nominal Complements in Monolingual and Bilingual Grammars)
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