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Differential Access: Asymmetries in Accessing Features and Building Representations in Heritage Language Grammars

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Department of World Languages and Cultures, Rutgers University-Camden, Camden, NJ 08102, USA
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Center for Language Science, Penn State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA
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Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Rutgers University-New Brunswick, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Languages 2019, 4(4), 81; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages4040081
Received: 13 August 2019 / Revised: 2 October 2019 / Accepted: 9 October 2019 / Published: 22 October 2019
In this article, we propose that elements of heritage language grammars—both in the form of axiomatic features and larger combined representational units—are not easily lost over the course of the lifespan. This view contrasts with alternative explanations for the steady-state representation of these grammars that suggest truncated acquisition or erosion are the primary culprits of perceived language loss. In production and comprehension processes for heritage bilinguals, particular elements are more difficult to access than others, leading to differential ways to access representations and feature values. To illustrate and support this hypothesis, we build on previous work by examining the interpretation and use of obligatory mood selection in Spanish desiderative constructions in three groups of heritage speakers with different levels of language proficiency. View Full-Text
Keywords: differential access; heritage speakers; input vs. intake; language acquisition; language maintenance differential access; heritage speakers; input vs. intake; language acquisition; language maintenance
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Perez-Cortes, S.; Putnam, M.T.; Sánchez, L. Differential Access: Asymmetries in Accessing Features and Building Representations in Heritage Language Grammars. Languages 2019, 4, 81.

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