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ERIC Number: EJ910343
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Mar
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 36
ISSN: ISSN-0018-2133
Some Verbs Are More Perfect than Others: Why Learners Have Difficulty with "ser" and "estar" and What It Means for Instruction
VanPatten, Bill
Hispania, v93 n1 p29-38 Mar 2010
In this essay, I apply current linguistic theory to reanalyze earlier research on the acquisition of "ser" and "estar" (e.g., VanPatten 1985, 1987). Using insights from Roby and Schmitt ("Semi-Copulas"), for example, I argue that the acquisition of the copular verbs is an issue of the acquisition of their aspectual properties (see also Bruhn de Garavito and Valenzuela 2008, as well as Montrul 2004); that is, the difficulty in the acquisition of the Spanish copular verbs is akin to the acquisition of aspect. In addition, I reconceptualize the traditional notion of the acquisition problem being "ser" versus "estar" and instead posit that the problem comes down to the acquisition of "estar" and its perfective nature. I conclude by describing some possible implications for instruction based on this research. (Contains 3 notes.)
American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese, Inc. 900 Ladd Road, Walled Lake, MI 48390. Tel: 248-960-2180; Fax: 248-960-9570; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A