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Clitic-doubled left dislocation and focus fronting in L2 Spanish: a case of successful acquisition at the syntax-discourse interface

Slabakova, R., Kempchinsky, P. and Rothman, J. (2012) Clitic-doubled left dislocation and focus fronting in L2 Spanish: a case of successful acquisition at the syntax-discourse interface. Second Language Research, 28 (3). pp. 319-343. ISSN 1477-0326

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1177/0267658312447612

Abstract/Summary

This experimental study tests the Interface Hypothesis by looking into processes at the syntax– discourse interface, teasing apart acquisition of syntactic, semantic and discourse knowledge. Adopting López’s (2009) pragmatic features [±a(naphor)] and [±c(ontrast)], which in combination account for the constructions of dislocation and fronting, we tested clitic left dislocation and fronted focus in the comprehension of English native speakers learning Spanish. Furthermore, we tested knowledge of an additional semantic property: the relationship between the discourse anaphor and the antecedent in clitic left dislocation (CLLD). This relationship is free: it can be subset, superset, part/whole. Syntactic knowledge of clitics was a condition for inclusion in the main test. Our findings indicate that all learners are sensitive to the semantic constraints. While the near-native speakers display native-like discourse knowledge, the advanced speakers demonstrated some discourse knowledge, and intermediate learners did not display any discourse knowledge. The findings support as well as challenge the Interface Hypothesis.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Clinical Language Sciences
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Language and Cognition
ID Code:33070
Publisher:Sage

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