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Subject inversion in non-native Spanish

Subject inversion in non-native Spanish
Subject inversion in non-native Spanish
This study presents new empirical evidence on the L2 acquisition of Spanish SV-VS contrasts, a syntax-pragmatics interface phenomenon. Results from a context-dependant preference task involving unergative and unaccusative verbs in different focus situations (broad and narrow focus) reveal that beginner and intermediate English speakers prefer SV in all contexts. In contrast, advanced learners, who clearly know that VS is possible in Spanish, show a pattern of optionality with unergative verbs (in both broad and narrow focus contexts), whereas VS is correctly preferred with unaccusative verbs in both broad and narrowly-focused contexts. We argue that these results can be explained by a representational deficit according to which the VS order is overgeneralized to unergative verbs regardless of the discursive situation. We argue that learners’ overuse of VS structures is exacerbated by the lack of clear evidence for the use of SV and VS forms in the native input.
word order, inversion, intransitive verbs, unaccusatives, interfaces, subject, spanish
0024-3841
243-265
Dominguez, Laura
9c1bf2b4-b582-429b-9e8a-5264c4b7e63f
Arche, Maria J.
1844eaee-d062-48e3-a4ff-7c839be3872d
Dominguez, Laura
9c1bf2b4-b582-429b-9e8a-5264c4b7e63f
Arche, Maria J.
1844eaee-d062-48e3-a4ff-7c839be3872d

Dominguez, Laura and Arche, Maria J. (2014) Subject inversion in non-native Spanish. Lingua, 145, 243-265. (doi:10.1016/j.lingua.2014.04.004).

Record type: Article

Abstract

This study presents new empirical evidence on the L2 acquisition of Spanish SV-VS contrasts, a syntax-pragmatics interface phenomenon. Results from a context-dependant preference task involving unergative and unaccusative verbs in different focus situations (broad and narrow focus) reveal that beginner and intermediate English speakers prefer SV in all contexts. In contrast, advanced learners, who clearly know that VS is possible in Spanish, show a pattern of optionality with unergative verbs (in both broad and narrow focus contexts), whereas VS is correctly preferred with unaccusative verbs in both broad and narrowly-focused contexts. We argue that these results can be explained by a representational deficit according to which the VS order is overgeneralized to unergative verbs regardless of the discursive situation. We argue that learners’ overuse of VS structures is exacerbated by the lack of clear evidence for the use of SV and VS forms in the native input.

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Dominguez & Arche 2014.pdf - Accepted Manuscript
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More information

e-pub ahead of print date: 16 May 2014
Published date: June 2014
Keywords: word order, inversion, intransitive verbs, unaccusatives, interfaces, subject, spanish
Organisations: Modern Languages

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 174281
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/174281
ISSN: 0024-3841
PURE UUID: a79256b4-6178-42aa-837c-8d4c538da42c

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Date deposited: 14 Feb 2011 11:12
Last modified: 05 Nov 2019 06:43

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