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ERIC Number: ED556448
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 283
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3035-9070-2
The Acquisition of Case in Spanish Pronominal Object Clitics in English-Speaking College-Level L2 Learners
Olsen, Michael Kevin
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh
The second language acquisition (SLA) of Spanish pronominal object clitics (POCs) has been a topic of research with regards to clitic placement (Houston, 1997; Lee, 1987; LoCoco, 1987; VanPatten, 1984; and VanPatten & Houston 1998), acquiring specific dialectal norms (Geeslin, Garcia-Amaya, Hasler-Barker, Henriksen, & Killam, 2010), and functional usage with datives (Zyzik, 2006). A thorough investigation of how second language (L2) learners acquire Spanish POCs in university-level Spanish classes in the United States including accusative POCs has not yet been carried out. This dissertation extends our knowledge of how these learners acquire Spanish POCs and how instruction impacts the acquisition process. Zyzik (2006) suggested that L2 learners create a dative POC prototype based on Animacy instead of Case as native speakers do. The first study of this dissertation extends Zyzik's work by investigating L2 learners' processing and use of Spanish pronominal object clitics, including the accusative POCs. A total of 121 L2 learners completed sentence-completion and cloze tasks to investigate how Animacy and Case influenced the way they distinguished Spanish POCs. Results from mixed ANOVAs show that lower proficiency L2 learners base POC distinctions on Animacy. However, more advanced learners show indications of shifting toward a Case-based system. A second study was conducted in order to test whether instruction was effective in preempting an Animacy-based system (Rutherford, 1989). A second group of 115 L2 learners from different proficiency levels were divided into two groups (instructed and control). These participants completed similar tasks to the first study at three different times (pre-test, post-test, delayed post-test). Between the pre-test and post-test, learners in the instructed group received instruction on Spanish POCs. Results from mixed ANOVAs indicate that instruction was not more effective than exposure to Spanish POCs through the tasks performed. The finding that both participant groups showed evidence of the preemption of an Animacy-based system is taken as evidence that the tasks themselves effectively led learners to change their POC systems. An explanation of this phenomenon is that the tasks provided a type of computer-mediated processing instruction, forcing learners to process the POCs and notice additional possible contexts, effectuating the change. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A