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ERIC Number: ED558260
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 223
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3038-2011-3
Agreement Reflexes of Emerging Optionality in Heritage Speaker Spanish
Pascual Cabo, Diego
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Florida
This study contributes to current trends of heritage speaker (HS) acquisition research by examining the syntax of psych-predicates in HS Spanish. Broadly defined, psych-predicates communicate states of emotions (e.g., to love) and have traditionally been categorized as belonging to one of three classes: class I--"temere" "to fear", class II--"preoccupare" "to worry", and class III--"piacere" "to like". In addition to the notorious structural opacity of class III psych-verbs, a large body of literature has documented them as being problematic for Spanish HSs. Considering this, I propose a novel analysis that aims to explain the patterns observed; i.e. class III psych-verbs--those that only have an unaccusative syntax in monolingual grammars--have been reanalyzed as class II psych-verbs--which have available both an agentive and unaccusative syntax. In other words, there is a simplification of the Spanish system of psych-predicates (in the sense of reducing three classes to two). As a result of this adjustment, Spanish HSs should be able to project an optional agentive syntax for "gustar"-like verbs (a use deemed ungrammatical by monolingual speakers) which is akin to other verbs like "asustar" "to scare" or "molestar" "to bother" (typical class II psych-predicates). To test this prediction, a total of 114 completed a battery of tests that examined the participants' knowledge and use of (un)grammatical items in relation to the syntactic and morphosyntactic reflexes that should obtain if the hypothesized analysis is on the right track. For example, I predict that Spanish HSs will (variably) accept passive constructions with "gustar"-like. The data presented reveal trends that are consistent with this prediction Furthermore, the results seem to indicate that a particular feature of change in 1st generation immigrant input providers, the loss of dative "a" marking, seems to be what gives rise to the change in syntax by the HS generation. The data, as well as the pairing of the groups which include child and adult aggregates, further contribute to the current debate in formal HS acquisition regarding the sources of variability. [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: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A