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Languages 2018, 3(2), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages3020013

Does Typological Proximity Really Matter? Evidence from Mandarin and Brazilian Portuguese-Speaking Learners of Spanish

1
School of Languages and Cultures, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA
2
Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Rutgers University, Academic Building, 15 Seminary Place, 5th Flr. College Ave., New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 December 2017 / Revised: 12 April 2018 / Accepted: 12 April 2018 / Published: 25 April 2018
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Abstract

The present study examines the role of typological proximity in the acquisition of Differential Object Marking (DOM) in Spanish among eighteen (n = 18) Mandarin-speaking second language (L2) learners and sixteen (n = 16) Spanish heritage speakers (HSs) with Brazilian Portuguese (BP) as their dominant language. Specifically, we investigate the extent to which language proximity (languages are members of the same family) plays a role in the complete specification of the relevant features constraining DOM marking in Spanish. Results from an elicited production task and an acceptability judgment task (AJT) showed no support for the typological proximity model (Rothman 2010). There were also no age of onset of acquisition effects, in contrast to what was expected. The post-puberty Mandarin L2 learners outperformed the BP HSs in most of the conditions examined, suggesting a role for language instruction. Results are discussed along the lines of Liceras and Alba de la Fuente’s (2015) proposal whereby the locus of transfer is more related to the typological similarity between the languages at the microparametric level than to language proximity itself. View Full-Text
Keywords: Spanish Differential Object Marking; Chinese learners of Spanish; typological proximity model; Spanish heritage speakers Spanish Differential Object Marking; Chinese learners of Spanish; typological proximity model; Spanish heritage speakers
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Cuza, A.; Jiao, J.; López-Otero, J.C. Does Typological Proximity Really Matter? Evidence from Mandarin and Brazilian Portuguese-Speaking Learners of Spanish. Languages 2018, 3, 13.

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