Pronominal mental representations in advanced L2 and L3 learners of Spanish
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Second language acquisitionAdquisición de segundas lenguasThird language acquisitionAdquisición de terceras lenguasAnaphora resolutionResolución de anáforaELEEspañol lengua extranjeraPro-dropPronominal subjectsOvert pronoun constraintUniversal grammarNull subjectsSujetos nulosNull subject parameterParámetro del sujeto nulo
Lozano, C. Pronominal mental representations in advanced L2 and L3 learners of Spanish. En: Luque Durán, J.D.; Pamies Bertrán, A.; Manjón Pozas, F.J. (eds.). Nuevas tendencias en la investigación lingüística. Granada: Granada Lingüística, 2002. (Collectae). pp. 605-617. [http://hdl.handle.net/10481/34915]
SponsorshipThis research is funded by ESRC, award no. R00429934281.
Evidence in recent second language research (SLR) leads to an apparent contradiction. While some studies claim that advanced adult learners can indeed achieve native-like competence, other studies suggest that they only achieve near-native competence. The former studies focus on universal principles of universal grammar (UG), whereas the latter investigate properties which UG allows to vary (within limits) and attribute lack of native-like competence to L1 influence on the L2. In this study we investigate whether this is the expected pattern, i.e., that advanced L2 speakers will always show native-like competence where principles are involved, yet near-nativeness where the L1 differs parametrically from the L1 with respect to functional features. An experimental study consisting of three groups ((i) English and (ii) Greek natives learners of Spanish as L2 and L3 respectively and (ii) Spanish natives) were tested on some pronominal constructions where the presence of overt and null pronouns is constrained by universal principles and language-specific/discursive constraints. Results show that all learners behave similarly with respect to the universal constructions, as expected. With discursive constructions, the Greek group behaves similarly to the Spanish group as there is no parametric variation between Greek and Spanish with respect to pronominal constraints. Crucially, although the English group also behaves similarly to the Spanish group, their intuitions are statistically divergent from those of Spanish natives. This is expected if L1-L2 parametric differences obtain.