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Spanish Imperfect revisited: exploring L1 influence in the reassembly of imperfective features onto new L2 forms

Dominguez, Laura, Arche, Maria J. and Myles, Florence (2017) Spanish Imperfect revisited: exploring L1 influence in the reassembly of imperfective features onto new L2 forms Second Language Research (doi:10.1177/0267658317701991).

Record type: Article


This study investigates the acquisition of the Spanish Imperfect by sixty English learners of Spanish at three different proficiency levels (beginner, intermediate and advanced). Two oral production tasks and one interpretation task show that although the Imperfect is used from early on, the full array of interpretations associated with this form (habitual, continuous and progressive) is not completely acquired even at advanced levels. Learners accept the Imperfect in imperfective contexts but have problems rejecting the Preterit. This problem persists even at advanced levels in continuous contexts. The continuous is conveyed in English by Past Tense, which is used in both perfective and imperfective contexts, whereas in Spanish only the Imperfect is appropriate. We argue that the incorrect low rejection of the Preterit signals a mapping problem of aspect-related features present in both English and Spanish onto a new form (the Imperfect). These results support the problematic nature of feature reassembly in the acquisition of the Spanish Imperfect by English speakers.

Other Dominguez, Arche, Myles accepted SLR - Accepted Manuscript
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Accepted/In Press date: 2 March 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 11 April 2017
Keywords: aspect, feature reassembly, Imperfect, L1 influence, transfer, Spanish
Organisations: Modern Languages and Linguistics


Local EPrints ID: 406189
ISSN: 0267-6583
PURE UUID: 638fe6a6-313a-487e-b73a-b57bae73d448

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Date deposited: 10 Mar 2017 10:41
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 04:04

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Author: Laura Dominguez
Author: Maria J. Arche
Author: Florence Myles

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