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Jill Robbins, Chair 150 W 21st Street, Stop B3700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4936

A corpus/quantitative approach to heritage Spanish: cognitive and typological implications

Fri, December 6, 2013 • 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM • BEN 2.104


In this talk I will address the importance of the study of heritage Spanish for the study of language as a whole. The linguistic behavior of these speakers is often complex: it can span the whole gamut from that of proficient L2 students, be closer to monolingual native speakers of Spanish, or reveal influence from English, the often dominant language spoken by the surrounding community.  A quantitative, experimental approach can uncover in which areas of linguistic competence heritage Spanish speakers' tend to resemble those different linguistic models. Evidence will be drawn from a study based on grammaticality judgment of psych verbs, and another on intonation and information structure. Findings help explain heritage speakers' linguistic behavior through sensitivity to frequency effects, and convergence with English. The comparison between bilingual, monolingual speakers, and proficient L2 students has implications not only for heritage language, but for language typology at large.

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