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The Effects of L2 Spanish Proficiency and Length of Exposure Abroad in the Expression of Imprecise Quantities

Department of Hispanic Studies, Davidson College, Davidson, NC 28036, USA
Academic Editors: Juana M. Liceras and Raquel Fernández Fuertes
Languages 2022, 7(1), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages7010020
Received: 2 October 2021 / Revised: 14 January 2022 / Accepted: 24 January 2022 / Published: 26 January 2022
In Spanish, imprecise quantities are typically expressed through approximators (APs) (e.g., casi $60 ‘almost’, como $30 ‘like’, and 90 y pico ‘-ish’). APs make semantic boundaries fuzzy, but they provide instructions for utterance interpretation by establishing upper limits (e.g., casi), lower limits (e.g., y pico), or no specific limits (e.g., como). While APs occur frequently in naturally occurring language, they are rarely included in second language (L2) classrooms or textbooks, limiting learners’ exposure to these forms. This study examined how intermediate L2, advanced L2, and native Spanish speakers (n = 20 per group) discussed imprecise quantities during oral interviews in which they responded to money-related questions. The study investigated the effect of L2 proficiency and cumulative length of exposure abroad in the learners’ lexical knowledge of APs. GLMMs revealed that, overall, an increased L2 proficiency correlated to a more frequent and more natural use of APs. A significant interaction between L2 proficiency and length of stay abroad was also found, as even short periods abroad resulted in significant lexical gains for the intermediate learners. The results show that while proficiency mediates AP use, naturalistic exposure at an early stage accelerates lexical acquisition, promoting a more target-like expression of numeric imprecision. View Full-Text
Keywords: numeric imprecision; approximators; L2 Spanish; naturalistic exposure numeric imprecision; approximators; L2 Spanish; naturalistic exposure
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MDPI and ACS Style

Jimenez, A. The Effects of L2 Spanish Proficiency and Length of Exposure Abroad in the Expression of Imprecise Quantities. Languages 2022, 7, 20. https://doi.org/10.3390/languages7010020

AMA Style

Jimenez A. The Effects of L2 Spanish Proficiency and Length of Exposure Abroad in the Expression of Imprecise Quantities. Languages. 2022; 7(1):20. https://doi.org/10.3390/languages7010020

Chicago/Turabian Style

Jimenez, Abril. 2022. "The Effects of L2 Spanish Proficiency and Length of Exposure Abroad in the Expression of Imprecise Quantities" Languages 7, no. 1: 20. https://doi.org/10.3390/languages7010020

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