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Academic Paper


Title: Double Objects in Spanish as a Second Langauge: Acquisition of Morphosyntax and Semantics
Author: María Cristina Cuervo
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: University of Toronto
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition; Morphology; Semantics; Syntax
Subject Language: Spanish
Abstract: This experimental study on the acquisition of the double-object construction in Spanish as a second language (L2) by a group of first language (L1) English adults investigates the role of Universal Grammar (UG) and its interaction with L1 in two modules of grammar: morphosyntax and semantics. The double-object construction in Spanish differs from its English counterpart in its morphosyntactic properties (case, clitic doubling, word order) and its semantics (interpretation of arguments and restrictions on the construction). Results show that L2 learners are sensitive to most of the morphosyntactic properties of the double-object construction but lag behind in the acquisition of its semantics. The experimental group shows evidence of UG-constrained acquisition in their sensitivity to morphosyntactic properties not instantiated in their L1 as well as in their nontarget but UG-licit analysis of the semantic restrictions of Spanish double objects. The dissociation between level of knowledge of morphosyntax and of semantics suggests that modularity of grammar is reflected in SLA exactly as it is in L1 acquisition.

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This article appears IN Studies in Second Language Acquisition Vol. 29, Issue 4, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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