Romance Languages at the Forefront of Language Acquisition Research—Volume 1

A special issue of Languages (ISSN 2226-471X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2017) | Viewed by 60250

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
1. Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5, Canada
2. Department of Linguistics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5, Canada
3. Departamento de Lenguas Aplicadas, Universidad Nebrija, 28015 Madrid, Spain
Interests: linguistic theory and language acquisition; romance linguistics; bilingualism; migrant and refugee language; contact linguistics; code-switching; pidging and creole grammars; pedagogical grammar; bilingualism and non-typical language development
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Departamento de Filología Inglesa, Universidad de Valladolid, 47011 Valladolid, Spain
Interests: linguistic theory, comparative grammar and bilingual acquisition; language-in-contact situations (e.g., code-switching, crosslinguistic influence, natural translation, word order issues); spontaneous and experimental data analyses from simultaneous and sequential bilinguals
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The goal of this Special Issue is to showcase state of the art work on the L1, bilingual and non-native acquisition of Romance languages from a theoretical and empirical perspective. The volume will examine how recent learnability issues are approached using acquisition data from different Romance languages. We particularly encourage contributions dealing with different populations, including but not limited to L1 acquisition, L2 acquisition, bi/multilingual and heritage language acquisition, language processing and language disorders.

As to the projected length of the Special Issue and articles, the overall target length of this Special Issue would be 90,000 to 135,000 words with manuscripts that are between 8000 and 10,000 words in length; that is:

  • Contents: Between 9 and 12 articles (with an Introduction—possibly written as a content article).
  • Romance Languages: Catalan, French, Italian, Portuguese (Peninsular and/or Brazilian), Romanian and Spanish (Peninsular and/or Latin American).
  • Acquisition modes and issues: L1, 2L1/Heritage, L2, language disorders, compounding, etc.
  • Sections
  1. Primary language acquisition

    • Clitic pronouns in the L1 Spanish of Down Syndrome and non-specific language impairment speakers.
    • Syntax
    • Galician and Portuguese
    • Morphology
  1. Bilingual (2L1) language acquisition (Romance+non-Romance)

    • Spanish/English. Narrative and morphosyntactic characteristics of the speech of a bilingual adult with Prader-Willi Syndrome.
    • French/English
    • Spanish/Basque
    • Spanish/Quechua
  1. Non-primary language acquisition

    • L2 Romanian (L1 English)
    • L2 Spanish (L1 Arabic). Monosyllabic placeholders in child L2 Spanish.
    • L2 Brazilian Portuguese (L1 Spanish). Compounding and derivation: typological proximity versus typological similarity.
    • L2 Spanish (L1 Swahili).

Our tentative completion schedule is as follows:

  • Abstract submission deadline: 5 June 2017 (400–450 words including bibliography)
  • Notification of abstract acceptance: 5 July 2017
  • Full manuscript deadline: 31 December 2017 (targeted)

Abstract submission is now closed. Authors of successful abstracts are invited to submit full papers by 31 December 2017, which will be sent out for peer review.

 

Prof. Juana M. Liceras
Prof. Raquel Fernández Fuertes
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Languages is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Formal approaches to language acquisition
  • Empirical approaches to language acquisition
  • Primary language acquisition
  • Non-primary language acquisition
  • Bilingual language acquisition
  • Simultaneous bilingualism
  • Sequential bilingualism
  • Language disorders
  • Bilingualism and cognitive impairment
  • Language acquisition and language contact

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Research

18 pages, 1356 KiB  
Article
Non-Native Dialect Matters: The Perception of European and Brazilian Portuguese Vowels by Californian English Monolinguals and Spanish–English Bilinguals
by Jaydene Elvin, Alba Tuninetti and Paola Escudero
Languages 2018, 3(3), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages3030037 - 12 Sep 2018
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 4247
Abstract
Studies show that second language (L2) learners’ perceptual patterns differ depending on their native dialect (e.g., Chládková and Podlipský 2011; Escudero and Williams 2012). Likewise, speakers from the same native language background show different perceptual patterns depending on the dialect to which they [...] Read more.
Studies show that second language (L2) learners’ perceptual patterns differ depending on their native dialect (e.g., Chládková and Podlipský 2011; Escudero and Williams 2012). Likewise, speakers from the same native language background show different perceptual patterns depending on the dialect to which they are exposed (e.g., Escudero and Boersma 2004; Escudero and Chládková 2010). The Second Language Linguistic Perception model (L2LP; Escudero 2005) accounts for these differences, explicitly stating that the acoustic similarity between the native and target dialect affects L2 perception. This study investigated whether Californian English monolingual and Spanish–English bilingual listeners differ in their perception of European Portuguese (EP) and Brazilian Portuguese (BP) vowels. Escudero et al. (2009a) showed that there were differences in the acoustic realization of vowels in BP and EP. Stressed vowels were longer in BP than in EP, with differences in vowel height observed for some vowels (e.g., /ɛ/ is higher in EP than in BP). According to the L2LP model, these acoustic differences between dialects will affect vowel perception; therefore, we predicted that there would be differences in the listeners’ perception of certain vowel contrasts in BP and EP. Participants completed a non-native categorization task and a discrimination task presented in the XAB format. The results from the non-native categorization task predicted differential vowel perception depending on both the dialect and vowel contrast that listeners heard, which were mostly confirmed with an interaction between dialect and contrast in the discrimination results. We contextualize these results with respect to models of L2 speech perception, highlighting that dialectal differences impact language perception and may influence later language learning. Full article
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29 pages, 1452 KiB  
Article
The Lexical Development of Canadian-Born Romanian L1 Bilingual Kindergarteners
by Maria Claudia Petrescu and Rena Helms-Park
Languages 2018, 3(3), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages3030033 - 16 Aug 2018
Viewed by 5203
Abstract
This study charts the lexical development of three sequential bilingual kindergarteners whose first language, Romanian, was acquired naturalistically at home, and whose second language, English, was acquired in kindergarten. The children’s lexical development in English and Romanian was assessed at five different points [...] Read more.
This study charts the lexical development of three sequential bilingual kindergarteners whose first language, Romanian, was acquired naturalistically at home, and whose second language, English, was acquired in kindergarten. The children’s lexical development in English and Romanian was assessed at five different points over a two-year period via the PPVT-4 (peabody picture vocabulary test 4) and a specially adapted PPVT-4 for Romanian. The children’s lexical repertoires were further analyzed to uncover home versus school and cognate versus non-cognate acquisitional differences. In addition, because there is no database of lexical items acquired by monolingual Romanian children, the PPVT-4 adapted for Romanian was administered to 22 monolingual six-year-old Romanian children in Sibiu, Romania. The findings indicate the following: (i) the three bilinguals’ receptive vocabulary in English was below average when they joined kindergarten, and at or above average two years later; (ii) their lexical growth in Romanian was steady; (iii) the bilinguals’ scores for words belonging to a home register reflected ceiling effects in English and Romanian (i.e., were very well known); (iv) academic words were known to an equal extent in English and Romanian, but scores were lower than for the home register; and (v) there was no definitive evidence of cognate facilitation. A comparison of the monolingual and bilingual Romanian repertoires reflects the following: (i) equally high scores for home items; (ii) differences in scores in the academic register in favour of the Romanian monolinguals; and (iii) important lifestyle and cultural differences between the groups. The Romanian children, for example, were more familiar than their Canadian counterparts with items related to home maintenance, such as șmirghăluiește (‘sanding’) and mistrie (‘trowel’), or items probably learned in school, such as foca (‘walrus’) and broască țestoasă (‘tortoise’). Full article
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14 pages, 785 KiB  
Article
Brazilian Bimodal Bilinguals as Heritage Signers
by Ronice Müller de Quadros and Diane Lillo-Martin
Languages 2018, 3(3), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages3030032 - 10 Aug 2018
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 4758
Abstract
This paper presents an analysis of heritage signers: bimodal bilinguals, who are adult hearing children of Deaf parents who acquired sign language at home with their parents and the spoken language from the surrounding community. Analyzing heritage language with bimodal bilinguals who possess [...] Read more.
This paper presents an analysis of heritage signers: bimodal bilinguals, who are adult hearing children of Deaf parents who acquired sign language at home with their parents and the spoken language from the surrounding community. Analyzing heritage language with bimodal bilinguals who possess pairs of languages in different modalities provides a new kind of evidence for understanding the heritage language phenomenon as well as for theoretical issues regarding human language. Language production data were collected from four Brazilian bimodal bilinguals separately in both sign and speech, as well as from monolingual comparison Deaf signers and hearing speakers. The data were subsequently analyzed for various grammatical components. As with other types of heritage speakers, we observed a great degree of individual variation in the sign (heritage) language of balanced participants who patterned similarly to the monolingual signers, compared to those whose use of sign language differed greatly from monolinguals. One participant showed some weaknesses in the second (spoken) language. We approach the variation in language fluency in the two languages by considering the different contexts of language development and continuing use. Full article
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23 pages, 1893 KiB  
Article
Mood Selection in Relative Clauses by French–Spanish Bilinguals: Contrasts and Similarities between L2 and Heritage Speakers
by Anahí Alba de la Fuente, Maura Cruz Enríquez and Hugues Lacroix
Languages 2018, 3(3), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages3030031 - 6 Aug 2018
Viewed by 4458
Abstract
In this paper, we explore three issues related to the acquisition of mood selection in Spanish relative clauses by second language (L2) and heritage (HL) speakers of Spanish: (1) whether HL speakers are more native-like than L2 learners; (2) whether the speakers’ performance [...] Read more.
In this paper, we explore three issues related to the acquisition of mood selection in Spanish relative clauses by second language (L2) and heritage (HL) speakers of Spanish: (1) whether HL speakers are more native-like than L2 learners; (2) whether the speakers’ performance differs depending on task modality (written vs. oral), since HL speakers are known to perform better in oral tasks and L2 learners tend to do better in written tasks; and (3) whether knowledge of French as an L1/dominant language (DL) has an impact on the acquisition of Spanish subjunctive, since both languages include this mood in their grammars, but it is used more productively in Spanish. Results from a sentence combination felicity task (SCFT) in Spanish—in written and oral forms—and a written elicited production task (EPT) in French, administered to advanced L2 and HL speakers of Spanish whose L1/DL is French and two monolingual (Spanish and French) control groups, revealed that L2 learners pattern more closely with the control group than HL speakers in the SCFT, both written and orally. In the EPT, all bilingual speakers display higher levels of subjunctive use than the control group, showing a potential influence from the L2/weaker language on the L1/DL. Full article
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29 pages, 5418 KiB  
Article
French Postverbal Subjects: A Comparison of Monolingual, Bilingual, Trilingual, and Multilingual French
by Laia Arnaus Gil and Natascha Müller
Languages 2018, 3(3), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages3030029 - 28 Jul 2018
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 5966
Abstract
Monolingual French children have been observed to pass through a stage which is characterized by the production of target-deviant postverbal subjects of the following type (Jansen 2015, p. 272): est tombé Philippe ‘is fallen Philippe’ (Philippe, 2;2,10), écrit bien celui-là ‘writes well this [...] Read more.
Monolingual French children have been observed to pass through a stage which is characterized by the production of target-deviant postverbal subjects of the following type (Jansen 2015, p. 272): est tombé Philippe ‘is fallen Philippe’ (Philippe, 2;2,10), écrit bien celui-là ‘writes well this one’ (Philippe, 2;2,2) (De Cat 2002; Déprez and Pierce 1993; Ferdinand 1993, 1996; Friedemann [1993] 1994; Labelle and Valois 1996; Pierce 1989). Interestingly, bilingual children who acquire French together with German produce postverbal subjects to an extremely low degree in mean length of utterance (MLU)-phases compared with monolingual children (Jansen 2015). Arguably, they skip the postverbal subject phase and are accelerated with respect to monolingual children. In our study, we tested whether multilingualism can speed up the acquisition process in French. A production test with 62 multilingual children (starting at 2;7 acquiring two, three, or four L1s) was administered in Spain and Germany to elicit finite verbs and DP (Determiner Phrase) subjects in French. The children’s proficiency in French was measured on the basis of the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT) (Dunn et al. 1993). In comparison with monolinguals studied in the literature, the bilingual children and the children who acquired more than two languages were accelerated with respect to the placement of subjects in the postverbal position. Although the multilingual children who ranked low in the PPVT exhibited all kinds of structures as responses to the test items that are characteristic of early French, such as null-subjects, root infinites and bare nouns, they did not use postverbal subjects. The absence of postverbal subjects was observed not only in children who acquired either German (or English) at the same time as French, as did the bilingual children in Jansen’s (2015) study, but also in children who acquired, in addition to French, a Romance language like Spanish, Catalan, or Italian, all null-subject languages which allow postverbal subjects in the adult language. Following (Biberauer and Richards 2006), the extended projection principle (EPP) feature of T (Tense) can be satisfied in different ways across languages: if a DP is necessary, which it is in adult French, it can be raised from Spec,vP (specifier of vP, of the small-verb Phrase) to Spec,TP (specifier of Tense Phrase) (in which case the finite verb surfaces in T). This is the default of EPP satisfaction in T. It is this option which is facilitated and boosts the acquisition of the preverbal subject position in early bilingual, trilingual, and multilingual French. The result that the children who acquired a null-subject language such as Spanish also enjoyed an advantage in French, adult Spanish being a language that allows for postverbal subjects, indicates that it is plausible that the default character of DP-raising for EPP satisfaction, instantiated in all languages involved, is the reason for its high relevance in the early French of bilingual, trilingual, and multilingual children. If our analysis of the multilingual data is plausible, monolingual French children exhibit more variation in satisfying the EPP-feature (in T) than children who acquire one or more other languages in addition to French, an observation which goes back to (Meisel 1989). Full article
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19 pages, 816 KiB  
Article
Continuity in the Adult and Children’s Comprehension of Subject and Object Relative Clauses in French and Italian
by Maria Teresa Guasti, Mirta Vernice and Julie Franck
Languages 2018, 3(3), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages3030024 - 5 Jul 2018
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 4638
Abstract
Subject and object relative clauses have been studied from the point of view of language acquisition and adult sentence processing. In the adult sentence processing literature, subject relative clauses (RCs) are read faster than object RCs (e.g., Frauenfelder et al. 1980 for French; [...] Read more.
Subject and object relative clauses have been studied from the point of view of language acquisition and adult sentence processing. In the adult sentence processing literature, subject relative clauses (RCs) are read faster than object RCs (e.g., Frauenfelder et al. 1980 for French; King and Kutas 1995 for English; Schriefers et al. 1995 for Dutch). Similarly, children understand and produce subject RCs earlier and with greater accuracy than object RCs in a variety of languages with head-initial relative clauses, as English, Hebrew and Italian. These findings cannot be a coincidence but reflect the fact that what children acquire first is also easier to process by adults. In this article, we support this observation by investigating subject and object RCs in children and adults speaking French and Italian. These languages display subject and object relatives as in (1), but they also have a type of object relative in which the subject is postverbal. We replicate the observation that subject relatives are easier than object and show that object relatives as in (1b), with the embedded subject in preverbal position are easier than those with the embedded subject in postverbal position, both for children and adults. We offer an account of these findings in terms of Fodor and Inoue’s (2000) diagnosis model in light of the fact that acquisition involves processing. Full article
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19 pages, 3401 KiB  
Article
Acquisition of French Causatives: Parallels to English Passives
by Jason Borga and William Snyder
Languages 2018, 3(2), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages3020018 - 31 May 2018
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3326
Abstract
Guasti (2016) notes similarities between English get- and be-passives, and Romance causatives of the faire-par and faire-infinitif types, respectively. On this basis she conjectures that faire-infinitif will show an acquisitional delay similar to that found for English be-passives, which are [...] Read more.
Guasti (2016) notes similarities between English get- and be-passives, and Romance causatives of the faire-par and faire-infinitif types, respectively. On this basis she conjectures that faire-infinitif will show an acquisitional delay similar to that found for English be-passives, which are not mastered until sometime after the age of four. Here, this prediction is tested and supported for French faire-infinitif causatives of transitive verbs. To explain the delay, the Universal Freezing Hypothesis (UFH) of Snyder and Hyams (2015) is extended to this type of causative: a restriction on movement is recast as a restriction on AGREE. A novel prediction, that faire causatives involving unergative or unaccusative verbs will be acquired much earlier, is also tested and supported. Finally, English get-passives and French “reflexive causative passives” are examined in light of the fact that both are acquired substantially earlier than age four. Full article
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20 pages, 793 KiB  
Article
Null Subject Occurrence in Monolingual Spanish SLI: A Discriminant Function Analysis
by John Grinstead, Paij Lintz, Amy Pratt, Mariana Vega-Mendoza, Juliana De la Mora, Myriam Cantú-Sánchez and Blanca Flores-Avalos
Languages 2018, 3(2), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages3020017 - 23 May 2018
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3997
Abstract
Background: Child Spanish-speakers appear to use more null subjects than do adults. Null subject use, like the use of tense marking, is sensitive to discourse-pragmatics. Because tense marking has been used to identify child Spanish-speakers with specific language impairment (SLI) with near [...] Read more.
Background: Child Spanish-speakers appear to use more null subjects than do adults. Null subject use, like the use of tense marking, is sensitive to discourse-pragmatics. Because tense marking has been used to identify child Spanish-speakers with specific language impairment (SLI) with near good sensitivity and specificity (89%), null subject use may as well, following the predictions of the Interface Deficit Hypothesis. We investigate the possibility that null subject occurrence may form part of a useful discriminant function for the identification of monolingual child Spanish-speakers diagnosed with specific language impairment. Methods: We evaluate the rate of null subject expression from spontaneous production data, together with results from independent measures of another discourse-sensitive construction, verb finiteness, in child Spanish. We perform a discriminant function analysis, using null subject expression as a target variable, among others, to classify monolingual child Spanish-speakers (N = 40) as SLI or as typically-developing (TD). Results: The SLI group is shown to have significantly higher scores than the TD group on null subject expression. Multiple discriminant functions, including the null subject variable with tense measures, and in combination with mean length of utterance in words (MLUw), are shown to provide good sensitivity and specificity (<90%) in the classification of children as SLI vs. TD. Conclusion: Our findings support the contention that null subject occurrence is a plausible reflection of the Interface Deficit of SLI for Spanish-speaking children. Full article
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20 pages, 862 KiB  
Article
Acquisition of L2 French Object Pronouns by Advanced Anglophone Learners
by Julia Herschensohn and Randall Gess
Languages 2018, 3(2), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages3020015 - 3 May 2018
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3940
Abstract
The role native language transfer plays in L2 acquisition raises the question of whether L1 constitutes a permanent representational deficit to mastery of the L2 morphosyntax and prosody or if it can eventually be overcome. Earlier research has shown that beginning and low [...] Read more.
The role native language transfer plays in L2 acquisition raises the question of whether L1 constitutes a permanent representational deficit to mastery of the L2 morphosyntax and prosody or if it can eventually be overcome. Earlier research has shown that beginning and low intermediate Anglophone L2 French learners are insensitive to French morphosyntactic and prosodic constraints in using in situ pronouns transferred from the L1. The prosodic transfer hypothesis (PTH) proposes that native prosodic structures may be adapted to facilitate acquisition of L2 prosodic structure. Our study presents new evidence from three Anglophone advanced learners of L2 French that indicates ceiling performance for pronoun production (99% accuracy in 300 tokens over nine interviews) and grammaticality judgment (98% accuracy). This native-like performance demonstrates target French morphosyntax and prosody, built—as predicted by the PTH—by licensing pronominal free clitics in a new pre-verbal L2 position distinct from post-verbal L1. Furthermore, the learners’ data confirms accurate prosody by way of appropriate prominence patterns in clitic + host sequences, correct use of clitics with prefixed verbs, use of stacked pronouns, as well as correct prosodic alternations involving liaison and elision. These results counter impaired representation approaches and suggest early missing inflection may be overcome. Full article
22 pages, 9502 KiB  
Article
Does Typological Proximity Really Matter? Evidence from Mandarin and Brazilian Portuguese-Speaking Learners of Spanish
by Alejandro Cuza, Jian Jiao and Julio César López-Otero
Languages 2018, 3(2), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages3020013 - 25 Apr 2018
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 5308
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
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26 pages, 2970 KiB  
Article
The Mixed Effects of Phonetic Input Variability on Relative Ease of L2 Learning: Evidence from English Learners’ Production of French and Spanish Stop-Rhotic Clusters
by Laura Colantoni and Jeffrey Steele
Languages 2018, 3(2), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages3020012 - 24 Apr 2018
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3929
Abstract
We examined the consequences of within-category phonetic variability in the input on non-native learners’ production accuracy. Following previous empirical research on the L2 acquisition of phonetics and the lexicon, we tested the hypothesis that phonetic variability facilitates learning by analyzing English-speaking learners’ production [...] Read more.
We examined the consequences of within-category phonetic variability in the input on non-native learners’ production accuracy. Following previous empirical research on the L2 acquisition of phonetics and the lexicon, we tested the hypothesis that phonetic variability facilitates learning by analyzing English-speaking learners’ production of French and Spanish word-medial stop-rhotic clusters, which differ from their English counterparts in terms of stop and rhotic voicing and manner. Crucially, for both the stops and rhotics, there are differences in within-language variability. Twenty native speakers per language and 39 L1 English-learners of French (N = 20) and Spanish (N = 19) of intermediate and advanced proficiency performed a carrier-sentence reading task. A given parameter was deemed to have been acquired when the learners’ production fell within the range of attested native speaker values. An acoustic analysis of the data partially supports the facilitative effect of phonetic variability. To account for the unsupported hypotheses, we discuss a number of issues, including the difficulty of measuring variability, the need to determine the extent to which learners’ perception shapes intake, and the challenge of teasing apart the effects of input variability from those of transferred L1 articulatory patterns. Full article
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17 pages, 1076 KiB  
Article
The Interpretation of Pronouns across Spanish-Speaking Populations
by Sergio Baauw
Languages 2018, 3(2), 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages3020011 - 20 Apr 2018
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3370
Abstract
In this paper, we will present data from both Spanish acquisition and aphasia on the Pronoun Interpretation Problem (PIP), according to which children allow pronouns to be identified with local c-commanding antecedents. Although it has recently been claimed that the PIP is, to [...] Read more.
In this paper, we will present data from both Spanish acquisition and aphasia on the Pronoun Interpretation Problem (PIP), according to which children allow pronouns to be identified with local c-commanding antecedents. Although it has recently been claimed that the PIP is, to a great extent, an experimental artifact, there are good reasons to believe that there is something “real” in the effect. As with many phenomena from acquisition, researchers have tried to explain this development in terms of “learning”, or more concretely, in terms of “parameter setting”. Children either must set the right local domain for the application of Principle B or they must set a +/− Principle B parameter. However, considering the PIP as an acquisition problem is problematic since it is difficult to see how children can converge on the target grammar without negative evidence. In this paper, we will defend an alternative approach, according to which the PIP is portrayed as the result of interplay between properties of predicates and different kinds of pronouns on the one hand, and language processing factors on the other. Full article
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28 pages, 4897 KiB  
Article
Language Mixing in the Nominal Phrase: Implications of a Distributed Morphology Perspective
by Michèle Burkholder
Languages 2018, 3(2), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages3020010 - 12 Apr 2018
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 5791
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
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