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How Pragmatically Odd! Interface Delays and Pronominal Subject Distribution in the L2 Spanish of English Natives

Rothman, J. (2008) How Pragmatically Odd! Interface Delays and Pronominal Subject Distribution in the L2 Spanish of English Natives. Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics, 1 (2). pp. 317-339. ISSN 1939-0238

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1515/shll-2008-1022

Abstract/Summary

Sorace (2000, 2005) has claimed that while L2 learners can easily acquire properties of L2 narrow syntax they have significant difficulty with regard to interpretation and the discourse distribution of related properties, resulting in so-called residual optionality. However, there is no consensus as to what this difficulty indicates. Is it related to an insurmountable grammatical representational deficit (in the sense of representation deficit approaches; e.g. Beck 1998, Franceschina 2001, Hawkins 2005), is it due to cross-linguistic interference, or is it just a delay due to a greater complexity involved in the acquisition of interface-conditioned properties? In this article, I explore the L2 distribution of null and overt subject pronouns of English speaking learners of L2 Spanish. While intermediate learners clearly have knowledge of the syntax of Spanish null subjects, they do not have target-like pragmatic knowledge of their distribution with overt subjects. The present data demonstrate, however, that this difficulty is overcome at highly advanced stages of L2 development, thus suggesting that properties at the syntax-pragmatics interface are not destined for inevitable fossilization.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism (CeLM)
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics (CINN)
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Clinical Language Sciences
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Centre for Cognition Research (CCR)
ID Code:43611

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