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Languages 2018, 3(2), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages3020010

Language Mixing in the Nominal Phrase: Implications of a Distributed Morphology Perspective

Department of Linguistics, University of Ottawa, 70 Laurier Ave. E., Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5, Canada
Some of the ideas and data that are discussed here were presented at the 14th Generative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition (GASLA) Conference, Southampton, UK, 7–9 April 2017.
Received: 14 January 2018 / Revised: 6 April 2018 / Accepted: 9 April 2018 / Published: 12 April 2018
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Abstract

This paper investigates a pattern found in Spanish–English mixed language corpora whereby it is common to switch from a Spanish determiner to an English noun (e.g., la house, ‘the house’), but rare to switch from an English determiner to a Spanish noun (e.g., the casa, ‘the house’). Unlike previous theoretical accounts of this asymmetry, that which is proposed here follows assumptions of the Distributed Morphology (DM) framework, specifically those regarding the relationship between grammatical gender and nominal declension class in Spanish. Crucially, and again in contrast to previous accounts, it is demonstrated that this approach predicts no such asymmetry for French–English. This hypothesis is tested experimentally using an acceptability judgment task with self-paced reading, and as expected, no evidence is found for an asymmetry. This experiment is also used to test predictions regarding how English nominal roots in mixed nominal phrases are assigned grammatical gender, and the impact of language background factors such as age of acquisition. Evidence is found that bilinguals attempt to assign analogical gender if possible, but that late sequential bilinguals have a stronger preference for this option than do simultaneous bilinguals. View Full-Text
Keywords: Distributed Morphology; language mixing; nominal phrase; Spanish–English; French–English; analogical criterion; age of acquisition; language dominance; bilingualism Distributed Morphology; language mixing; nominal phrase; Spanish–English; French–English; analogical criterion; age of acquisition; language dominance; bilingualism
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Burkholder, M. Language Mixing in the Nominal Phrase: Implications of a Distributed Morphology Perspective. Languages 2018, 3, 10.

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