Skip Navigation
UT wordmark
College of Liberal Arts wordmark
spanish masthead
Jill Robbins, Chair 150 W 21st Street, Stop B3700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4936

Spring 2006

SPN 383M • Topics in the Acquisition of Spanish Syntax/Semantics

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
47220 TTh
2:00 PM-3:30 PM
CBA 4.344

Course Description

Recent developments in Universal Grammar (Principles and Parameters, Minimalist Program, etc.) as well as in language acquisition theories, have expanded and intensified research in the acquisition of syntax and semantics in the last decade. A great number of studies have been proposed on Spanish, particularly in the areas where Spanish critically differs from English from the language typological point of view. The objective of this course is to introduce students to theories postulated for the acquisition of syntax and semantics with a special reference to Spanish, and to test these theories with empirical data. The research questions to be investigated are: What are the internal as well as external factors contributing to the acquisition of Spanish Syntax and semantics?; and b) which factors are idiosyncratic to the acquisition of Spanish and which ones are general to that of other languages as well. Although we examine studies in both first language (L1) as well as second language (L2) acquisition, the primary focus of the course is in L2 acquisition. The program of the course is as follows:

1. Introduction: Theoretical and Methodological Issues 2. Topic ONE: Argument Structures (Split-intransitivity, Psych verbs, Datives, etc.) 3. Topic TWO: Agreement (person/number, gender/number) 4. Topic THREE: Tense/Aspect 5. Topic FOUR: Mood 6. Topic FIVE: Clitics (argument-type and se) 7. Topic SIX: Null-subjects and Word Order

Grading Policy

The final grade will be computed as follows: 1. Discussion and Participation 15 % 2. Mid-term Problem sets 20 % 4. Reading Project (Critique) 15 % 5. Term Paper 50 % Total 100 %


1. Montrul, S. A. 2004. The Acquisition of Spanish Morphosyntactic development in monolingual and bilingual L1 acquisition and adult L2 acquisition. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 2. Hand-outs with analytical problems prepared by Instructor Bibliography (Partial: More will be added later) Collentine, J. 2004. The Effects of Learning Contexts on Morphosyntactic and lexical Development. . Studies in Second Language Acquisition 26:2 Hawkins, R. 2001. Second Language Syntax. Oxford: Blackwell. Isabelli, C. A. and Nishida, C. 2005 "Development of the Spanish Subjunctive in a Nine- month Study-abroad Setting," in Selected Proceedings of the 7th Hispanic Linguistics Symposium and 6th Conference on the Acquisition of Spanish and Portuguese as First and Second Languages, D. Eddington (ed.) Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press. Lafford, B. and Salaberry R. (eds.) 2004. Spanish Second Language Acquisition. State of the Science. Washington D.C.: Georgetown University. Montrul, S.A. 2004. Psycholinguistic evidence for split intransitivity in Spanish second language acquisition. Applied Psycholinguistics 25: 239-267 Nishida, C. and Isabelli, C. A. 2004. On the Acquisition of the Spanish Clitic se in a Study- Abroad Setting, paper presented at the 7th Conference on the Acquisition of Spanish and Portuguese as first and second languages. Minneapolis, October 2004. Pérez-Leroux , A. T. and Glass, W. R. 1996. Contemporary Perspectives on the Acquisition of Spanish Vol. 1: Developing Grammar. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press. Salaberry, M.R.. 2000. The development of past tense morphology in L2 Spanish. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Salaberry, M. R. and Shirai, Y. (ed.) 2002. The L2 acquisition of tense-aspect morphology. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Slabakova, R.. 2001. Telicity in the Second Language. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Toth, Paul. 2000. Interaction of Instruction and Learner-internal Factors in the Acquisition of L2 Morphosyntax. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 22: 169-208. White, L. 2003. Second Language Acquisition and Universal Grammar. Cambridge University Press


bottom border