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Not just algunos, but indeed unos L2ers can acquire scalar implicatures in L2 Spanish

Miller, D., Giancaspro , D., Iverson, M., Rothman, J. and Slabakova, R. (2016) Not just algunos, but indeed unos L2ers can acquire scalar implicatures in L2 Spanish. In: Alba de la Fuente, A., Valenzuela , E. and Martinez Sanz, C. (eds.) Language acquisition beyond parameters: studies in honour of Juana M. Liceras. John Benjamins Publishing Company, Amsterdam, pp. 125-145. ISBN 9789027241931

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1075/sibil.51


This study examines interpretation of scalar implicatures (SI) in the L2 Spanish of native English advanced learners. Spanish is especially interesting since, unlike English, it has two indefinite determiners, unos and algunos, which ostensibly map to English some. However, each does not allow an implicature like English some. The complexity of the Spanish system is predicted to make Spanish particularly challenging. We present data from a Video Acceptability Judgment experiment where the subset–whole set distinction is applied to algunos/unos. The videos contain sets of 4 participants, in which 0, 3 or all 4 engage in an action. Test sentences are presented after the video clips in four target conditions: (a) algunos with 4 out of 4 (4/4) video, (b) algunos with 3 out of 4 (3/4) video, (c) unos with 4/4 video and (d) unos with 3/4 video. Judgments on the 4/4 video conditions, especially the unos condition, indicate whether implicatures are projected or not. If participants are sensitive to the idiosyncratic restrictions on algunos for implicatures, one expects to find a distinction between algunos and unos in the 4/4 condition, and between 4/4 versus 3/4 conditions with algunos. Both participant groups (native speakers and advanced L2ers) perform the experiment similarly. Both groups make the two relevant distinctions to the same degree.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics (CINN)
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Clinical Language Sciences
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Language and Cognition
Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Centre for Cognition Research (CCR)
Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism (CeLM)
ID Code:69078
Publisher:John Benjamins Publishing Company

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